India’s IT professionals upset with Obama

May 5th, 2009 - 6:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama By Maitreyee Boruah
Bangalore, May 5 (IANS) Indian IT professionals Tuesday slammed President Barack Obama’s move to end tax incentives for US companies that ship jobs to countries like India, saying it will neither benefit the US nor its corporate sector.

“Obama’s latest move was expected, but unwelcome at a time when Bangalore’s IT and BPO sectors are already reeling under the global economic meltdown,” said Padma Nair, 26, an IT-professional working for a Bangalore-based American company.

“Obama’s new policy is not going to benefit anyone, neither the outsourcing companies nor the country the job is outsourced to. The cost saved in outsourcing is higher than that saved by tax exemption,” Nair told IANS.

Expressing a similar view, Shankar Banerjee, 25, a quality analyst working for another American IT company, said if Obama’s proposal is pushed through, it will hit business coming India’s way and many Indians would lose their jobs.

“IT and BPO companies in India have already suffered due to the slowdown. A lot of people have lost jobs. Obama’s latest move will cause more problems,” added Banerjee.

The comments came after President Obama said Monday that the current US tax system gave US-based multinationals that shipped jobs to places like India an unfair advantage over other domestic rivals and wanted corrective steps.

“It’s a tax code that says you should pay lower taxes if you create a job in Bangalore, India, than if you create one in Buffalo, New York,” Obama said, explaining why he intended to close tax loopholes and crackdown on overseas tax havens.

“I want to see our companies remain the most competitive in the world. But the way to make sure that happens is not to reward our companies for moving jobs off our shores or transferring profits to overseas tax havens.”

According to the National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom), the US accounts for about 60 percent of India’s software services export revenue. Bangalore-based firms account for one-third of this.

A recent study by the association, conducted along with McKinsey, shows the Indian software and outsourcing industry employs some two million people, earning total revenues worth $52 billion, of which nearly $48 billion comes from exports.

American IT companies that have set up offices in Bangalore include Accenture, Microsoft, Amazon, AOL, Cisco, Dell, IBM and Intel.

An estimated 600,000 people are employed in Bangalore’s software and outsourcing sectors. And industry professionals say many could lose their jobs following Obama’s latest move.

UNITES-Professionals India, a trade union for IT enabled services sector, predicts 50,000 employees in India will be handed the pink slip over the next few months. Bangalore, hailed as India’s Silicon Valley, could be the worst affected.

Concurred Sumana Prasad, 32, an IT employee working for an Indian company: “The slowdown has already hit Bangalore’s IT and BPO companies. Obama’s latest step will affect more people.”

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