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
“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