India@75: IT sector’s historic rise since Independence to become a global powerhouse

Considering its fast growth pace, India is at the centre of global IT attraction with players betting big on the future of IT in India

Vasudevan Swaminathan September 12, 2022 20:42:50 IST
India@75: IT sector’s historic rise since Independence to become a global powerhouse

Building India's digital payment ecosystem. PTI

Technology has changed the way we communicate, pay bills, commute, interact with governance, and even the way we perceive entertainment. information technology players in the country are keeping pace with their global peers and even outplaying them in many aspects.

Our country has come a long way as 75 years ago, India had around 84,000 telephone lines for its population of 350 million. This has now grown to an unimaginable 116.68 crore of the telecom user base and it is estimated that the country will have 900 million internet users by 2025.

IT evolution

However, this wasn’t the case when the country gained Independence. India was often seen as a slowpoke and it was the IT revolution that change the perspective towards the country’s economic growth and its development capabilities. While the 1970s saw a boom in the IT sector with companies outsourcing software, it was after 1990 that the industry saw a resurgence of sorts where project-driven software services saw a traction that proliferated the IT ecosystem’s expansion.

Over seven decades of India’s remarkable economic development, IT has surpassed expectations by playing a significant role in propelling this growth. From a contribution of 1.2 per cent to India’s GDP in 1998, the IT sector’s contribution has grown to 7.7 per cent in 2019.

The sector includes IT-enabled services (ITES), software and hardware services, cybersecurity, e-commerce, etc. Our government’s flagship initiative, Digital India, has aided in spreading internet access in the remotest parts of the country as much as possible. The rapid digital transformation that evoked from the initiative has positively impacted lives of millions across the country.

Flying high

Over the last few decades, the exponential growth of the sector can also be attributed to liberalisation policies like reducing trade barriers and doing away with import duties on IT products. This, coupled with Software Technology Parks and Special Economic Zones that house innumerable IT companies and employees in lakhs are also contributing to the economy and employment.

Considering its fast growth pace, India is at the centre of global IT attraction with players betting big on the future of IT in India. We are globally creating a mark with companies in the country that are racing towards offering Software as a Service (SaaS). Because of its cost-saving nature and capacity to offer high returns, the country has become the world’s top IT sourcing destination.

According to a recent NASSCOM report, India’s SAAS revenues were around $4 billion that is growing at a CAGR of 30 per cent with more than 75 per cent of these revenues come from international markets. Given the increasing demand for cloud and analytics, NASSCOM expects IT industry’s revenue to touch $350 billion.

Even when the world was reeling under uncertainty, propelled by the COVID pandemic, and businesses were grappling to sustain normalcy, it was the IT sector that not only helped transformed, automated, and ensured sustainability but also empowered the digital health ecosystem that benefited the country’s populace that was hit by the virus.

A much needed boost

The Indian government is also making serious efforts to ensure that India sets a benchmark globally in IT innovation. A press release in 2019 from the Indian government stated that the National Policy on Software Products, aims to develop India as the global software product hub, driven by innovation, improved commercialisation, sustainable Intellectual Property (IP), promoting technology startup and specialised skill sets.

By enabling Aadhaar, Passport eSeva, UPI, the government has leveraged our IT ecosystem’s capabilities to impact millions of lives by increasing accessibility to governance.

With the upcoming rollout of 5G, growing adoption of cloud technology, Big Data Analytics, AI and ML, IoT, remote monitoring and telemedicine, it will lead to a further expansion of the IT industry in the country. While looking back at 75 years of prosperity, the sector is now striving to reshape the future of India’s digital landscape in ways that will only strengthen the unshaken resilience of the country.

The author is President & Chief Consultant, Zuci Systems. Views are personal.

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