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What's next for India's outsourcing industry?

Stephanie Overby | Jan. 8, 2014 talked to Som Mittal, departing president of India's National Association of Software and Services Companies, about immigration policy and protectionist politics in the U.S., political and economic instability at home, and what the future holds for the Indian IT services industry. Is there anything you would have liked to accomplish during your tenure that you didn't? Or anything you would have liked to have changed sooner?
Mittal: I wish we could have done more to drive the domestic agenda. We do all this work for customers overseas, but India hasn't leverage technology as much. We got stuck on global issues.

I wish we could have positioned our value proposition better in North America and Europe, letting those societies know that we're part of the solution, not the problem. Our customers understand that but, given the economic downturn and all the rhetoric around unemployment, we could have managed that better and earlier. What do you want to be remembered for during your time at NASSCOM?
Mittal: I think we braved the downturn well. We had our own issues on 26/11 [the 2008 Mumbai attacks]. There were major issues around the world related to cybersecurity and protectionist regimes. I think we navigated it all pretty well.

We worked well with the U.S. companies who are also our members and resolved the long-standing tax issues that were creating uncertainty for them in India. We set up the Data Security Council of India to establish, monitor and enforce privacy and data protection standards for our industry. In fact, we continue to collaborate with our counterparts around the world on data security because it's something that no country is protected from. We're all vulnerable.

We worked well with organizations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Brookings Institution, the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute to create more understanding with our stakeholders.

We went to work at a time when things appeared to be going south, but we were fortunate. Our entrepreneurship and products have picked up well. Things seem to be on a good track.


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