Indian IT industry rightly should be in panic: Gupta

The Indian IT industry “rightly” should be in “panic” mode, as it has not kept pace with the fast-changing innovation, India-born former McKinsey head Rajat Gupta (in pic) has said.
He said industries today “have to constantly move with innovation” as basic IT work gets automated and advanced innovations such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality and cloud computing overtake the technological world. “Code writing and testing is the most inefficient industry that existed,” he said at a panel discussion organised by the New York Tri-State chapter of Pratham USA, one of the largest non-governmental organisations.
“Indian IT industry is in panic and rightly should be because technology is overtaking them and they haven’t invested in it,” he said. Gupta, who was a former director at Goldman Sachs, was sentenced to two years in prison after being convicted of insider trading charges.
A free man now, Gupta has been gradually re-entering the social and philanthropic world.Last year, he assumed the role of chairman of WHEELS Global Foundation, a US-based non-profit started by IIT alumni that focus on applying technology to uplift rural communities and provide technological solutions to global challenges.
Meanwhile, Indian software industry body Nasscom on Thursday refuted reports of mass layoffs in the IT sector, saying the industry will hire about 1.5 lakh people this year on “net” basis although techies will have to reskill themselves to stay relevant.
Over the past few weeks, there have been reports suggesting that over 50,000 people could be laid off this year from companies like Wipro, Infosys and Cognizant.
“We categorically reject the reports of mass layoffs in the sector. FY2017 saw 1.7 lakh people being added, while in Q4 alone, the gross hiring was of over 50,000 by top five companies,” Nasscom president R Chandrashekhar told reporters. In the same breath, Nasscom said that employees will have to “re-skill or perish” as the world moves to new technologies like automation, robotics, analytics and cyber security.
Experts are warning of prolonged layoffs in the Indian IT sector, as digitisation and automation become the new normal and a wave of protectionism in major markets like the US, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand closes the door for IT engineers from India. Gupta said there is urgent need for “revolution in education” where imparting knowledge has to move from being in lecture mode to being more interactive, digital and participatory. “A fundamental revolution in education needs to be taking place,” he said.
He also voiced concern at the huge youth unemployment in India & other major countries. “India needs to create 20 million jobs a year and it is no way near that. Most of our skilling efforts in India are failures because certain elements are not built into it. It becomes a government scheme. Are (the youth) really skilled when they come out. No,” he said. On the recent increase in hate crimes targeting Indian-Americans, Gupta said there has to be awareness among the community through educational programs about their rights.
The Indian-American community does not have a legal defence fund that can be used to bring cases & prosecute those responsible for such crimes.