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Indian IT firms should diversify export markets: Pilot

MoS for Communication and IT said firms should diversify their export markets to reach out to Europe, Africa and Asia to manage the Ohio ban repurcussions better.

twitter-logo PTI   New Delhi     Last Updated: September 20, 2010  | 17:50 IST

Against the backdrop of rising anti-outsourcing sentiment in the United States, the government on Thursday said Indian information technology (IT) companies should diversify their export markets and reach out to Europe, Africa and Asia in a bigger way.

"We (IT companies) must diversify our export destinations to reach out to Europe, Africa and Asia, so that there is the balanced approach in terms of export destinations," Minister of State for Communications & IT, Sachin Pilot, told PTI.

Ohio state in the US recently banned outsourcing work to foreign companies, hot on the heels of the country's move to raise fee for H-1B and L1 visas. These moves are expected to hurt the $50-billion Indian IT market, which garners a major chunk of revenues from American companies.

"It is very unfortunate that these kind of issues are coming up...something people call protectionist," Pilot said, while asserting that Indian IT sector is robust enough to over come any challenge.

The outsourcing ban by Ohio has come as a disappointment to India. Commerce Minister Anand Sharma had said on Tuesday the move is "not welcome at all."

Indian IT industry has made a notable contribution which is acknowledged globally, even in the US. It is these entities which are responsible for creating jobs, even now when there are big job losses, Sharma had said.

On whether Indian IT companies would be able to face challenges posed by the US government, Pilot said:" We believe the global movement of the trade of goods and services is required for the world to grow together. I am hopeful that no matter what challenges arise, Indian IT sector is robust enough to overcome them."

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland had banned offshore outsourcing by government departments. Earlier, the US increased professional visa fees significantly to fund a $600-million programme to secure its border with Mexico.

Sharma had also cited data suggesting that Indian IT companies have created over 2.5 lakh jobs in the US in the last three years.

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