`India should open up Govt. IT procurement’

Via The Hindu
Staff Correspondent

  • `India, China more attractive FDI destinations than U.S.’
  • An
    increase in H1B visas by the U.S. Govt. suggested

    CHENNAI: If India needs to be a global player
    in software, it has to open up the government procurement market for
    hardware, says Robert Atkinson, President, Information Technology and
    Innovation Foundation (ITIF), Washington DC.

    ITIF is a non-profit and non-partisan public
    policy think-tank, focussing on innovation, productivity and digital
    economy issues.

    “Indian government procurement market is not
    open to us. If you want to be a global player, it has to work both
    ways,” he said. “You want to do software services to the U.S.
    companies, but do not want to buy Dell or HP product. Around 80 per
    cent of the software in India and China are pirated,” he pointed out.

    The weighted average tariff in India was 28
    per cent compared to just six per cent in China. India had reduced
    tariffs significantly, he said at a session on ” The New Economy:
    Implications for the Developing World, including India,” organised by
    the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on Tuesday.

    Quoting an AT Kearney’s Foreign Direct
    Investment Confidence Index, he said China and India were more
    attractive for FDI than the U.S., which was in the third place.

    The manufacturing productivity in India and
    ASEAN countries grew slower than that in the U.S. McKinsey Global
    Institute found that productivity in less protected software and
    telecommunications sectors in India was about 40 to 50 per cent of U.S.
    levels. In more sheltered retail and retailing banking, it was 6 and 12
    per cent, respectively, of the U.S. levels, he added.

    Mr. Atkinson said India lagged behind in ICT use. Asian nations, in general, lagged behind in ICT use, he pointed out.

    Mr. Atkinson advocated an increase in H1B visas
    by the U.S. Government. A number of companies violated the U.S. laws by
    paying wages below the market rates. Increasing H1B Visa was an
    enforcement issue and solved the violation problem, he added.

    Mr. Atkinson said Russia and China were posing
    stiff competition for India in the IT sector. Russia’s software exports
    were up from $128 million in 2001 to $1.5 billion this year. China was
    the second largest investor in R & D. He said India should reduce
    its trade barriers to be a global player. On the one hand, India wanted
    to be a location of choice for off-shored software services, but, on
    the other, was erecting h

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