The National Association of Software and Services Companies' (Nasscom) foremost expectation from India's new government is stability, followed by a comprehensive data strategy that will impact development in major sectors of the country.
"The only thing we desire is stability and a government which understands how technology can be leveraged for development, both economic and social. We are pretty self-sufficient as an industry," Debjani Ghosh, president at Nasscom told Business Standard.
The president of the Indian information technology industry body said that the government should also significantly increase investments in capability development, and research and development.
India is all set for a new government with the counting of votes for the just- concluded general election scheduled for Thursday.
The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government has, in the past five years, focused on technology, digitalisation and data. The realisation of the importance of data is evident from the fact that the government's existing and proposed policies and laws touch upon the subject in one way or the other.
The draft data protection law and the e-commerce policy are cases in point. Ghosh, however, said the need of the hour is to have a comprehensive strategy around data.
"India should have that strategy and pick the verticals that will have the maximum impact on our development, whether it is agriculture, manufacturing, health or education. But let's prioritise the verticals and let us have a segment and strategy for each vertical. (We should think about) how do we build a complete value chain for that vertical from creation to impact," she said.
Another issue she acknowledged was that of countries like the US and China having better capabilities to process the data generated in India. A key demand to that effect is having people with the right skills.
Nasscom has previously spoken about the paucity of the right kind of talent as digital becomes the norm. In its first edition of the CEO Survey released in February, 90 per cent of the CEO responses showed that skills are the new currency. It also found an increased focus on skilling and reskilling as all businesses and countries are dealing with a global tech skills shortage.
In March, Nasscom representatives met with US officials in Washington DC and also with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"Everybody from PM Modi to the US government gets the importance of technology and see it as an opportunity to disrupt, lead and completely transform. The biggest worry that both sides have is on talent. We met with quite a few US senators, besides Ivanka Trump, advisor to the US president, and Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, and that was the number one discussion. Back home, the discussion with PM was mostly about how we have the talent and capability to use technology and to have an end-to-end strategy to turn data into value," Ghosh said.
She pointed out that India should leverage its unique ecosystem of local as well as multinational firms building talent pools in India.
"In all the rhetoric about nationalism, we lose the plot. We make it an India versus MNC plot, but we are one of the few countries which are blessed to have an India and MNC story and we have to get clever and really start leveraging it to the fullest. We have to stop chopping the branch that we are sitting on and figure out what we have to do," she said.