Beyond its time-tested role as a not-for-profit association, NASSCOM, referred to as a "revolution" by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is the apex body for the $154-billion IT BPM industry. Established in 1988, the body has been a relentless catalyst for the Indian IT BPM industry in its journey towards building an innovation-led growth sector, with transformative business models, expanding its value proposition and becoming a partner of choice for global businesses. The CW team recently met current NASSCOM chief Raman Roy at the Smart Urbanation Summit held in Hyderabad, organised by Smart Cities Council India. In an exclusive conversation with SHRIYAL SETHUMADHAVAN and RAHUL KAMAT, Roy talks about the need to upgrade skills and the R&D required in the IT sector. Excerpts:
What will be the new skill set required to service digital India?
First, we have to realise where our competencies lie. At the moment, the capability to realise this is also missing. And, this capability is what we need to create for a kid, for him to be able to understand whether he can do data or cyber security, or other things. From here, we emanate a number of things that will be most beneficial, followed by understanding what they take to accomplish.
So, as NASSCOM, we are creating a platform for the future of skills. This platform will allow the assessment and understanding of what it takes to upgrade skills.
Are we seeing success towards upgradation of skills?
Most definitely yes. You can see the early signs of it. I mean we are now a $168 billion-odd industry; as NASSCOM, if we give the guidance, the industry will grow 7-9 per cent. However, the number of people will not grow at 7-9 per cent but at a slower pace. This means non-linear growth is happening, which in a way is an upgradation of skills.
Is investment in India sufficient in terms of pure R&D?
Speaking of investments in pure R&D, we are lagging behind as a country. And, as a manufacturing services industry, we are lagging way behind as only commercial infrastructure is driving the sector. So there is a need for a catalytic event for people to realise. Some people create an Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) based on some research and then realise that the same cannot be monetised.
The next thought is, why research, if it cannot be monetised?
There has to be a dialogue to see what will make research happen. The research is to lead products that will be commercially viable.
Globally, India is looked upon for its expertise in IT. Many countries are using India's IT talent for their growth...
We are a $168-billion industry and are creating smart cities globally. Tenders came out; a large part of the IT industry did not participate. It's not because they do not have the competency. We need to seriously introspect upon the issue. Because there are issues, there are roadblocks, and unless we remove the issues, we will not leverage the expertise for our own country that is being leveraged globally.