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NASSCOM appoints new boss to corral India's outsourcers

Can you triple our revenue by 2020 please Mr Chandrashekhar?

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India’s all-powerful IT body NASSCOM has appointed a new head honcho to guide the industry to hoped-for revenues of $US300 billion (£183bn) by 2020.

Former Indian telecom secretary R Chandrashekhar took the reins as president on Monday from the outgoing Som Mittal, who served from 2007.

Unsurprisingly, he struck an optimistic tone in canned comments announcing his new role, claiming the Indian IT-BPM industry is growing rapidly in "scale, complexity and innovation".

He added:

Going forward, enabling radical transformation of key sectors in India through the use of ICT to increase access, enhance efficiency and enable innovation in the sector are going to be some of our priority focus areas. The rapidly accelerating trend of innovation and entrepreneurship in the ICT sector impacts several domains and provides clear indicators that the journey has begun.

As one would expect, Chandrashekhar is something of an industry veteran, having also served as IT secretary for a time. He was also the first to establish a department of IT in India, albeit at a regional level, in Andhra Pradesh, according to PTI.

As telecom secretary he was given the tricky task of managing India’s re-auctioning of 2G licenses – a process beset by delays and infighting.

Chandrashekar will need all his experience to steer India’s massive IT industry towards its ambitious revenue goals – which amount to a near 300 per cent jump from the $108bn (£66bn) made in 2012.

It faces numerous challenges, not least its ongoing argument with the US government over a new immigration bill which previous NASSCOM president Som Mittal branded “discriminatory”.

The bill, yet to be approved by the House of Representatives, would effectively force Indian IT firms to hire more local talent in the US, hitting their wage bills significantly.

A broader problem facing NASSCOM is how to ensure its IT services members adapt from traditional labour-based to cloud-based models.

The industry body itself has also come under fire for failing to move quickly enough with the times.

In February 2013 a group of 30 software companies decided to form their own group, the Indian Software Product Industry Roundtable (iSPIRT), after apparently becoming unhappy that their interests weren’t being considered.

NASSCOM soon after announced ambitious plans to grow the burgeoning Indian software industry five-fold to reach $10bn (£6.1bn) by 2020. ®

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