With Barack Obama re-elected as the president of US, India needs to wait and watch his stand on FDI, immigration, outsourcing and overall relations. While corporate India and public at large are happy with Obama winning the second term, will the president match up to India’s expectations? DNA finds out...
A strong America will generate more FDI and job opportunities
The re-election of Barack Obama as the US president clearly shows that many Americans have high hopes from their leader. They trust that Obama will complete the tasks he has undertaken and fulfil the promises he has made. India has a lot to gain by supporting his policies and our industry must do its bit by facilitating job creation in America and encourage joint partnership in healthcare utilities and education. Zensar itself has created over 350 American jobs since 2010 and we have clear strategies to support and enhance American market opportunities. So, let us celebrate the new America that has given Obama a second chance to help restore the country’s growth and ensure economic progress. A strong America will generate more FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) and create more global jobs, which would benefit the world.
Ganesh Natarajan, CEO, Zensar Technologies
High rate of unemployment saw US prez take a tough stand on outsourcing
The Indian IT sector is heavily dependent on the USA since its inception. The outsourcing industry gets more than half of its revenue from the US. Also, the companies in the IT/BPO sector employ most of their staff in India, where the costs are lower as compared to the US.
The slow pace of economic recovery in the US and the high rate of unemployment over the last few years saw Barack Obama taking a tough stance on Indian outsourcing companies in his first term. This is because Indians are often perceived as the ones to be taking away jobs from the West.
The US in the past few years has tightened its visa policies as well. It has increased the visa fees as software companies send their employees to the US to work on projects. However, the issue of outsourcing was more or less an election propaganda. At the end, even US companies have made profits by outsourcing.
Many US multinationals have large centres in India (IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, etc.) and they are able to generate profits due to Indian techies. We need to create a better trade policy with US by opening up FDI in India and put pressure on US foreign policy to create a win-win model for Indo-American businesses. In the long run, the Indian IT industry will grow due to its talented workforce.
Deepak Shikarpur, Co-chairman, IT Committee, MCCIA
Obama banking on China to play a bigger role is not good news for us
During the election campaigns, Republican candidate Mitt Romney seemed to be a proponent of outsourcing whereas Obama spoke about protecting US jobs in the IT sector. As far as outsourcing is concerned, Obama has already increased fees for H-1B visa and Green Card.
Obama will give preference to those companies who don’t take US work outside and he will provide tax benefits as well. Talking about the Obama effect, it will have a short-term effect on migration of IT people to the US. After winning the elections, Obama will make efforts to bring stability in the US economy.
Over three-fourth of Indian IT business is with the US and Europe, with US taking the larger chunk. Though in the short-term, Obama’s policies won’t favour India, but on a long-term basis, it will benefit us.
Obama is also supportive of China playing a bigger role in Asia and looks at Beijing as an important partner, which is specifically not good news for India. As far as nuclear deal and FDI policy are concerned, it will be in India’s favour as we are looked upon as a big customer.
Bhooshan Kelkar, IT Analyst
One should not expect any major shift in American policies
The Indian community in the US, the general public in India and particularly the corporate sector seemed to be in favour of Barack Obama right from the beginning. There was a general anticipation and a strong expectation that he would get re-elected. He is considered as the president with a friendly disposition towards India.
Obama made a very good impression on the Indian public during his visit. He is expected to continue with his policies and plans, which he set in motion four years ago. In fact, his re-election campaign stressed on the fact that he has accomplished half of what he wanted to achieve and hence was asking for a mandate for the next four-year term.
We do not expect any major shift in his policies pertaining to IT, FDI or immigration. His first and foremost responsibility is to boost the US economy, create jobs and make America stronger. He will take all the appropriate steps towards the said goal. In the process, IT sector will grow and India is bound to get a fair share of the growing market and its related benefits. The IT sector will require competent manpower, talent and skills which to some extent India will get a chance to supply.
President Obama is likely to welcome immigrants or work permit holders to the US but will strike a balance between protecting jobs of the Americans and inviting overseas talent. As far as FDI is concerned, the US is always open to exploring investment opportunities in a market like India. Surely, the US would want India to be more responsive and welcoming towards the FDI.
Dhananjay Keskar, Director, IBS Business School
Bilateral investments should be consolidated and nurtured
Obama’s win will ensure continuity of his economic policies and programmes, which will also help in putting the world economy back on track. The US administration should ensure more economic engagement with India, which will help both the countries in grappling with the slowdown.
With the steady increase in bilateral trade, efforts should be made to fast track the trade to reach $100 billion mark in the future. Also, bilateral investments, which have shown remarkable growth in the last few years, should be consolidated and nurtured to assume newer proportions.
In fact, a growing number of Indian companies have drawn up comprehensive plans to invest in the US in sectors like IT, pharmaceuticals, biotech and auto components. President Obama should also prioritise completion of some economic agenda attempted earlier vis-a-vis with India. These include early completion of the bilateral investment agreement, restructuring of double taxation avoidance treaty and the long pending totalisation agreement.
Shourya Mandal, National President, IACC
The real challenge for American president is to overcome the fiscal cliff
I think more than who won the US election, it is important to ensure the steady growth of economy and how effectively we create value for the customers. The real challenge for Obama is to overcome the fiscal cliff soon that will boost the US economy and also accelerate India’s growth. Indian IT industry’s fundamentals are strong and the economy is likely to grow with the adoption of new technology.
Prasant Pansare, CEO, Inteliment Technologies
Relations with US will improve as there is a lot at stake for both countries
I always thought the Democrats are a better choice than the Republicans, so I am glad that Barack Obama won. The president’s second-term can be summed up in his statement: “It takes time, it takes more than a single term” (to change what he set out to change). I expect him to be bolder and more assertive in his policy-making including policies with respect to India. Overall relations with the US will definitely improve, there is a lot at stake for both the countries. I don’t see any significant changes in his policy as far as IT and work visas are concerned. But we expect an increase in the FDI and outsourcing.
Monish Darda, Co-founder and CTO, Icertis
Obama didn’t have to take populist steps to appease his vote bank
Barack Obama being re-elected means that there will be less of jingoism and more of rational thinking. Obama is not only more liberal, he also didn’t take any populist steps to appease his vote bank. He is just taking his mission forward. Having said that, we should not have any high expectations about any favours coming our way.
Abhay Patil, vice-president, Talent and Operations