The Indian IT industry is keeping its fingers crossed on the likely impact of the election results from the five states on the ensuing Union Budget for next fiscal (2012-13), especially the government's reforms agenda.
Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee is scheduled to present the budget for fiscal 2012-13 in the Lok Sabha March 16.
"Though the poll results are for change and against corruption, giving hope for youth, we are worried over its impact on the upcoming budget, as fractured politics may have a bearing on the government's reform agenda," industry leader and Genpact vice-chairman Pramod Bhasin said on Wednesday.
Hailing the poll verdicts in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarkhand, Goa and Manipur as a mandate for demographics of the country, Bhasin said the industry was waiting to see how bold the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government would be in going ahead with its reforms agenda.
"Given that the UPA government is yet to figure out exactly where its power base lies after the poll outcome, we have to see how bold can it afford to be in pushing the long pending reforms and bills that can spur the economy," Bhasin said.
On the industry's budget expectations, the former national association of software services companies (Nasscom) chairman said the industry was looking forward to major announcements on education, health, infrastructure and taxation to allow more investments to come through.
"Will the budget come out with major reforms to free up the industry to allow more investments to come through? We need a national consensus in five-ten big areas. Only then the political parties do come together. What is happening is that every issue seems to be handled differently by different parties. Hence there is confusion. We don't know what's the government policy," Bhasin pointed out.
Regretting that the country lacked national leadership, Bhasin said lawmakers should collectively show leadership and realise that India was bigger than individual parties.
"For instance, freeing up higher education is the need of the hour with regulation. There is a need for a strong regulator to regulate the sector as there are too many colleges and universities, which don't offer quality teaching but charge a lot of money resulting in loss of credibility," Bhasin asserted.
As a leading employment generator, the IT industry will require a million highly qualified youth for hiring in the next five years.
"Other major concerns of the industry are taxes and customs, as every company is facing a daily battle to address the issues. We can't call ourselves as a 21st century country when we are fighting a battle on tax issues every day," Bhasin observed.