Speaking to the Indian business community yesterday at India Club, Premji said despite its all-round growth, China lags behind India by three to four years in IT-based industries. "So, as long as India keeps that edge, China can never overcome its neighbour in this sector."
Describing the Indian IT industry as a powerhouse of potential, Premji said it would be a key driver of the country's economic growth. The Indian IT industry was $16.5 billion in 2002-03. Currently, IT constitutes 3.2 per cent of the Indian GDP, but has the potential to grow to seven per cent by 2008. "The industry, which currently employs 0.8 million people can create indirect employment opportunities for at least, an additional two million people by 2008. Exports of IT Services, which currently account for eight per cent of foreign exchange inflows, will account for more than 30 per cent in 2008. This will probably be the only industry where India will be on par with, or indeed ahead of most developed markets," he said in his address on "Firing India's Global Dream."
Premji said the country's IT industry is set for further giant leaps on the strength of its human talent. "The irrepressible spirit of Indian entrepreneurship is showcased in the Middle East by the Indian community which has made its entry here not so long ago. Yet another example is the dominance of Indian IT professionals in the Silicon Valley where more than 35 per cent of the start-up companies are by Indians."
He said the world in general and India in particular are at a very critical phase of development that has a potential to determine the way things are going to shape in the next 20 years. "The twin drivers of globalisation and technology have created a drive to achieve economic independence and superiority. Though IT made a tentative beginning in the late 70's, it has now become an industry central to India's ambitions."
According to Premji, among the several key attributes that have turned the global spotlight on to the Indian IT industry, the first is the country's talent storehouse. "In a services led industry, quality of human capital draws the line between success and failure. With over 1200 engineering colleges turning out over 350,000 engineers every year, our country has a wealth of technical talent. Complementing this is a strong basic education system that emphasises on mathematics and science very early in one's education. All of this coupled with English speaking skills creates global employability."
He said India has matched and even surpassed customer expectations of quality in the global IT landscape. "Today, over 40 of the world's 75 plus SEI CMM Level 5 companies and over 280 ISO 9002 certified companies are in India.."
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