These are certainly tough times. With Federal Governments stepping in to bail out firms that are struggling to keep themselves afloat and tough measures being looked at to ensure that the ones who stay afloat eventually swim, these are unprecedented times. To top things, Governments want to have a say in the review of employment practices and also looking to cap executive compensation. There’s this patriotic wave that is on the rise and a ton of people out there saying “Go American”. It all seems to be happening out there with literally no sight of any light at the end of the tunnel.
Industry veterans who’ve seen tough times tell me they have never seen anything that is even half as close. I was reading something recently that suggested the Fed was contemplating moves along with the US treasury to deny firms that rely on the use of H1B workers won’t get a share of the so called TARP money, and, that companies must certainly look to stop off-shoring. This is music for the staunch opponents of free trade and liberalization. While Obama has been a name on every lip, large sections of the Indian IT industry expressed several concerns on his proposed policies to curb outsourcing.
Yes – for sure. Over time, we have moved from a traditional manufacturing and agriculture based economy to a service oriented economy. The role of IT / ITES in the Indian economy is something that you can’t easily discount. An aspect of the economy that has grown significantly over time, it faces purists throwing out some weird stats like the sector contributing to 10% of the economy, five hundred thousand people – but for me, it’s a lot of crap. While I appreciate data, the thing with data is that you can make it to look anyway in which you want it to look like. A few slices, a few dices and viola! You can see what you want to see. So, numbers may not be a real representation of the facts. The fact is, this is a sector on the rise!
This sector is particularly under the pump these days. While the collapse of large financial behemoths has left a direct impact on this sector, the slowdown is forcing organizations to do something it’s never done before – H1B workers for different IT majors in the US are asked to come back, and back home, the industry is relooking at the way it used to look at the bottom performers – the “chalta hai” hat is fast becoming a thing of the old and families put to a lot of distress due to the spiraling domino.
If these issues are not enough to deal with, our folks continue to put the industry under further stress. I was recently travelling and pretty much every other person I met paused to check about the IT major that went down, dubbed very popularly in the west as India’s Enron! I saw a note on the headlines of a large TV network that said an Indian, running a company in the United States was arrested on the charge of forging documents to get H1B workers into the US. Viswa Mandalapu, CEO of Vision Systems in New Jersey has been arrested.
In times when there is so much pressure on this category of the workforce which happens to be the toast of India, this is a bolt from the blue. The folks crying for curbs will jump at any opportunity thrown towards them, adding fuel to the fire. I can already see the downstream effects of this with the concerned authorities tightening controls. I’ve over the course of my career seen the hopes of people rise when companies tend to file work visas for them. My job also gets me to counsel people who feel they fell from fifty thousand feet when they go through the painful procedure of applying and then hear that their visa was rejected. It’s like the world is against them!
It’s really sad that the people who do activities like this fail to think of the downstream. Their conviction invariably leads the world to paint all Indians with the same brush. While I know it is extremely unfair to do something like that, I can’t but help to think like the people who do so. It’s only but natural at the end of the day.
It’s a big deal for someone from India to go and live abroad – The family thinks they have arrived in life, their friends think they are very good and the neighbors think they are very rich. While these are cultural aspects of our society, in the eyes of the world that we live in, we are still Indians. Can we start to act with a little more responsibility in a manner that will not bring reputational damage to our nation?
Are you listening Mr.Mandalapu?
Aah!! How can you? You are in jail! I hope a few of your other friends are, at least, they learn and don’t put us to any more disrepute!
Image Credit: Lanuiop
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