When the chips were down, your code kept things running,” said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, lauding India’s information technology (IT) industry on Wednesday.
The resilience displayed by the tech industry amidst the ongoing global crisis was a shining example of “New India,” Modi said, while addressing the opening session of the three-day National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom) Technology & Leadership Forum (NTLF) 2021. “When the whole world was restricted to the four walls of their homes, our IT sector ran their projects with the same commitment and dedication,” he said.
Modi, who addressed the industry leaders virtually at the 29th edition of NTLF, also said that while the Indian IT industry had spread its footprints globally long ago, a digital divide continued to exist in the vast domestic market.
Calling upon the industry to go deeper into the districts and towns to bridge this divide, he said the IT sector should also look at building technology solutions proactively, especially in areas such as agriculture, health and wellness, telemedicine, education, and skilling.
The Prime Minister also had a message for Indian start-up founders. “Do not limit yourself to only valuations and exit strategies,” he said. “Think how you can create institutions that will outlive this century. Think how you can create world-class products that will stand the global benchmark of excellence.” He added that there can be no compromise on these goals, because “without them we will always be a follower and not a global leader”.
NTLF is Indian software industry body Nasscom’s flagship event and this is the first time that it is being held virtually.
“We will have to make new measures to measure our competitiveness. We will have to compete with ourselves,” said the Prime Minister. “To become a global technology leader, along with innovation and enterprise, the Indian IT sector will have to give equal importance to a culture of excellence and institution building,” he added.
Nasscom has projected a 2.3 per cent revenue growth in FY21 for the country’s IT industry despite the Covid-19 pandemic. It has pegged the Indian IT industry’s revenue during the current financial year at $194 billion, up from $190 billion in FY20.
Although several players faced pricing pressure as the global economy contracted, the Indian IT services segment is set to grow 2.7 per cent to $99 billion. The growth was driven by the e-commerce sector, that grew 4.8 per cent to $57 billion, followed by a 4.1 per cent growth in the hardware segment that touched a revenue of $16 billion on a year-on-year basis. Exports are expected to touch $150 billion for FY21.
Nasscom said on Monday that acting on the Prime Minister’s call for Atmanirbhar Bharat, or self-reliant India, domestic digital adoption intensified in 2020. The Indian domestic market, driven by hardware-led demand continued to show resilience, growing at 3.4 per cent in FY20. With an increased focus on innovation, India witnessed more than 115,000 tech patents filed by companies in the last five years.