India's $150 billion IT industry, the cornerstone of a thriving economic partnership with the United States, is on the edge as it closely monitors how U.S. President Donald Trump's administration will manage policies around the outsourcing and movement of skilled workers. Ciara Lee reports
India's 150 billion dollar IT industry has long been the cornerstone of a thriving economic partnership with the U.S. But Trump's "America First" pledge is putting it on edge. The government is monitoring how Trump will manage policies around the outsourcing and movement of skilled workers. And considering the U.S. market accounts for 60 per cent of India's IT exports, there's a lot at stake. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SOFTWARE COMPANIES (NASSCOM), THE UMBRELLA BODY FOR INDIAN IT AND SOFTWARE COMPANIES, CHANDRASHEKHAR RENTALA, SAYING: "Today's global wars are not about trade or of investment, it is for talent. And a country which closes its doors to talent, is in a sense, losing out." The biggest concern is a bill seeking to double the salary paid to some overseas visa holders. It would dramatically increase the costs for the Indian companies employing them. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EMPLOYEE WORKING WITH AN INTERNATIONAL CONSULTANCY FIRM IN GURGAON, URVASHI VERMA, SAYING: "I think that is not a very good move because it is an era of globalization, everyone wants to work together, everybody wants to, you know, live with each other. It is causing a lot of problems not just in a professional industry but also for families. A lot of people who had been staying there have to come back now." Leaders from Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys and Wipro - among others - will meet U.S. lawmakers this week to lobby against the changes. Few expect a complete shutdown of skilled worker visas - Indian engineers are an established part of the fabric of Silicon Valley. And U.S. businesses depend on their cheaper software solutions. But any changes will likely push up costs at a time when India's IT sector is already seeing slower growth. India and the US also have a joint target of $500 billion bilateral trade. So it may not be easy for Trump to ignore India's concerns.