Three events held last week will mean a lot for India. The first one was IBM
announcing a $6 billion investment plan for India, which can be achieved, only
if there are enough techniÂcally qualified people avaiÂlable. The second was
about Red Hat's plan to include India in its 'One Laptop per Child'
program. And the third was the Indian PresiÂdent APJ Kalam's flight in the
Sukhoi fighter jet.
Let me start with the much talked about $6 billion IBM investment plan. This
move speaks volumes for the confidence that organizaÂtions like IBM and their
top of the line world custoÂmers place on India. They sincerely believe that
outsÂourcing to Indian professioÂnals will get them cost as well as quality
advantages. ComÂpanies such as IBM do not work on cost advantages alone.
While India is already an established outsourcing destiÂÂnaÂtion, this
mega invesÂtÂment from IBM has stumped everybody; most of all, its
competitors. This move should trigger many others to start or enhance their
current India operaÂtions. Beyond reasons of competition, this is also a big
confidence builder. If IBM is going there, it must be on the basis of concrete
As India's acceptability and standing goes up, so do the challenges. One
major chalÂlenge that India will face in its run up to the top slot will be the
unlimited supply of talent pool. Bring up the subject of quality manpower
availability with any software company or BPO setup, and you will only hear of
probÂlems and complaints. I beliÂeve that quality manpower, over the next
10-15 years will make all the difference.
It is in this context, that India Inc as well as the Indian government should
seriously consider the Red Hat 'One Laptop per Child' initiative. It's a
dream plan, which counÂtries such as India could turn to their advantage. As
per this plan, children in developing nations will be able to get a laptop for
$100 in the next few years. Unless there are big hidden costs, India will greaÂtly
benefit from this program. If India wants to be an IT superpower in the future,
it needs PCs for its children, today. As of now, the response to this program
has been very lukewarm.
Obviously, there are quite a few concerns that many of these companies have.
How smooth will it be to run these large operations out of India? Will they find
infrastructure, government support, and business and industry policies
conducive? Are these compaÂnies confident that this is a long-term investment?
PresiÂdent Kalam attending the IBM function is a very clear mesÂsage of the
government supÂport in making India a global IT hub. Kalam said, “IT is key.
Not just business leaÂders, but even country's leaders need to get
involved in it”.
And finally let me also explain why President Kalam's flight in the Sukhoi
fighter jet is so significant. This flight was a symbol of the confidence and
ambition that India is capable of. TCS, Wipro, Infosys, Mittal Steel, and
Reliance are global giants emerging out of India, we now have a 76-year old head
of the nation who dons a pilots gear and flies in a supersonic fighter aircraft.
Kalam's flight, therefore, conveys to the rest of the world that the political
leadership in India now wants to do things that only Prime Ministers and PresiÂdents
of rich and famous countries did.
The world will continue to enhance its ranking of India, but that makes the
task even more difficult. India will quickly have to work out an effective
education infraÂstrucÂture that will be able to produce capable workers. The
industry and the governÂment will have to work together on this. India will
need to make itself a great place to do business. And the country will need to
produce and support leaders who have the capability to dream big and deliver
(The writer is the editor of Dataquest)