Mumbai: Tata Consultancy Services chief N. Chandrasekaran on Wednesday said concerns surrounding the H1-B visa are hyped and asked the $155-billion domestic information technology (IT) industry not to get paranoid as these are exciting times with lots of opportunities.
Chandrasekaran, who is set to take over the chairmanship of Tata Sons next week, said at the annual Nasscom conference here this evening, “Every time there is a regulatory change or some kind of a perceived challenge, in our industry, everybody says ‘there is a problem’ ... and it is hyped up whether it is H1-B, whether it is increase in re-staffing.”
In fact, he said these are exciting times for the IT industry given the exponential demand for technology as every business reorients itself. “Fundamentally, every business is going to be powered by technology. So, the opportunity and the demand that we are going to see is just exponential,” he said.
“Change is something you have to live with. You cannot get overly paranoid, I don’t think there is a cause for concern, I really feel the opportunity is immense,” he added. Chandrasekaran, under whose leadership TCS grew to become the largest domestic IT company, said the industry will have to adapt to changes, build capabilities, IP, form new partnerships and re-skill its employees.
Building skills, hiring the right talent and re- engineering senior people is also important, he said, using a cricket analogy of waiting for the loose ball. It can be noted that there are heightened concerns, after a change in the US to adopting more protectionist policies. The proposed changes have rattled the sector and also prevented industry lobby Nasscom from disclosing its revenue guidance for the next fiscal.
Chandrasekaran also made a strong case for not “rubbishing” the domestic services companies, which have not been able to do products like Microsoft’s Windows. He also sound critical of those who call the work of domestic IT companies as “labour arbitrage”, saying a lot of world-class skills have been used by the industry.
He hoped one day a domestic company will be able to create a widely used product like Windows or an Apple, but asked the industry to give such entrepreneurs a chance. Welcoming proliferation of digital in the financial world with payments, he said digital needs to go deeper into other sectors like education and healthcare as well.
He said various flagship government initiatives like Digital India, Skill India, Make in India have to ultimately converge in the digital sphere and asked the IT industry to make it happen. “Multiple initiatives of the government will all get connected at some stage...All these initiatives we have to bring it together. Best people to bring it together is IT professionals,” he said.