The information technology (IT) industry, which is reeling under pressures from key Western markets, will have a formal meeting with the Centre to discuss various problems that have reportedly resulted in job losses across the sector, a senior government official said.
In separate letters to top IT officials, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology’s additional secretary Ajay Kumar wrote that the government is organising a high-level roundtable with select industry leaders for developing the roadmap towards the Centre’s target of having a $1-trillion digital economy by 2022. The meeting, which is expected to be held on June 16, will be chaired by IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
The government official cited above told The Indian Express that soon after news reports of mass layoffs, the IT ministry began chalking out plans to have regular dialogues to deal with issues concerning the industry. The official also said that apart from the software sector, those from other aspects of digital economy — telecommunications, digital payments, banking, cyber security — have also been invited to the meeting.
In the recent months, the IT industry has faced business uncertainties from various fronts including issues pertaining to H-1B visa in the US, slowdown in key geographies and the growing need for more specialised skills, which reportedly led to a number of mid- and senior-level employees being laid off.
However, Nasscom stated that employee departures this year are in line with previous years — pegged to be in the range of 0.5 to 3 per cent on company level — and were largely driven by performance-related factors.
The US administration, under President Donald Trump, has initiated a number of steps to review the visa programme. In April, Trump signed an executive order, directing federal agencies to implement a ‘Buy American, Hire American’ strategy. He called on the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of Homeland Security to “propose new rules and issue new guidance, to supersede or revise previous rules and guidance if appropriate, to protect the interests of United States workers in the administration of our immigration system, including through the prevention of fraud or abuse” and to “suggest reforms to help ensure that H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid petition beneficiaries”.