India Inc looks to Obama for end to global economic crisis

January 21st, 2009 - 4:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaNew Delhi, Jan 21 (IANS) With Barack Obama inaugurated the 44th US president, India Inc looks to him with the hope that he will be able to end the global economic crisis, which has retarded the country’s growth, pulled down markets, let loose a financial turmoil and caused anxiety among its workforce.”The expectations are very high from the Obama administration in light of the financial meltdown and global recession,” said S. Gopalakrishnan, the chief executive and managing director of IT bellwether Infosys Technologies.

“We hope Obama will be able to change sentiments and create a positive momentum for growth. A president like Obama in the White House would mean a lot to the US citizens who are looking forward to a turnaround in the economy,” Gopalakrishnan told IANS.

The exporting community, which saw the value of outbound shipments fall for the first time in 15 years during October, also has high expectations from the new administration, especially as the US remains India’s largest trading partner.

“We expect the new president to come up with a magic formula that will help Indian exporters come out of the crisis faced due to financial slowdown,” said A. Sakthivel, president of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO).

And the sentiments were similar from the country’s outsourcing sector that many predict may actually benefit from the US recession as companies there seek to cut costs by shipping jobs outside.

“I am sure as US firms become more competitive, employment will increase. Our IT services will enable US firms to become more productive, cost-effective,” said Som Mittal, president of the National Association of Software Services and Companies.

“Over the past several years, India has played a key role as a partner of the US to improve the competitiveness of its industry and enterprises. The Indian IT industry looks forward to being part of the support to turn around the US economy.”

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, the chairperson of Biocon, a leading biotech firm based out of Bangalore, shares Mittal’s outlook. “The outsourcing model will see a change with emphasis on value addition. It’ll also be beneficial to our sector.”

Yet, having assured US citizens during his campaign that they will not lose jobs to counties like India, not everyone is convinced about the new administration’s policies toward outsourcing.

“We will wait and watch for his initiatives,” said Gopalakrishnan. Hopefully, the new administration will see the advantages of outsourcing the same way as the previous administrations.”

In his inaugural speech, Obama had made it clear that he is not one to put off decisions to rebuild the US economy however painful they may be.

“The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act - not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth,” the president said.

“We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together,” he said, adding: “Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.”

Amit Mitra, secretary general of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci), said the industry lobby has its own wish list for the new president, especially on infrastructure and outsourcing.

“We expect him to view outsourcing as a business decision for US companies, especially in the current situation where costs will play an important role,” said Mitra.

“A US Chamber of Commerce study shows that 74 percent of the benefits of outsourcing actually go to US companies.”

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