Indian IT industry's software exports to grow at 7-8 percent in 2017-18: NASSCOM

The $150-billion Indian IT industry includes revenues from Business Process Management (BPM), software services and software products.

Hit by global political and economic uncertainties, the Indian IT industry's software exports are projected to grow at 7-8 per cent this fiscal (2017-18), which is lower than 8-10 percent in the 2016-17 fiscal, the apex Nasscom said on Thursday.

"The outlook for the IT industry in fiscal 2017-18 is 7-8 per cent growth in exports and 10-11 per cent in the domestic market as against 10-12 per cent in 2016-17," the National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) said in a statement here. The lower export outlook comes in the light of political and economic uncertainties that impacted decision-making and discretionary spend during the last fiscal (2016-17).

The $150-billion Indian IT industry includes revenues from Business Process Management (BPM), software services and software products. Their exports contribute about 80 per cent to the revenue, with the US market accounting for 60 percent of it. Noting that digital solutions and niche segments would be the key growth drivers, the industry's representative body said the revenue projection was based on improvements in financial services and high potential in digital business.

Allaying fears of slowdown and job losses, Nasscom Chairman Raman Roy told reporters that the industry was expected to add 1.3-1.5 lakh jobs during the fiscal as it continued to be a net hirer with the demand for skilled professionals growing across its segments. The industry association, however, admitted that it was imperative for new and existing talent to reskill to prepare for emerging job roles which required new skill sets.

One of the takeaways from the analysis of the industry performance in the last fiscal was the fast adoption of digital solutions by the Indian enterprise.

"The industry has grabbed bull by its horns and is well on its journey of transformation to capture new opportunities in digital segment," said Nasscom President R. Chandrashekhar at the news conference. For the first time in 25 years, Nasscom could not give the guidance in February due to the uncertainties confronting the industry. It said while uncertainties exist, it now has clarity on the nature and extent of these uncertainties.

Chandrasekhar pointed out that global outlook for the IT industry is optimistic with analysts projecting strong upsurge in opportunity in 2017 and 2018.

"India's share in this global opportunity is not only holding steady but increasing. The attractiveness of India as the investment destination continues to be on rise," he added. Chandrasekhar said despite the headwinds globally, the industry added over $11 billion in revenues during 2016-17 (8.6 percent in constant currency; 7.6 percent in reported currency).

He claimed the projected numbers for current fiscal were not very different and since the base would be large, the growth will be higher. The industry's performance has been consistent as it added over $60 billion in last five years. The exports doubled over last six years.

He said domestic market was the fastest growing tech market in APAC. It grew over 11 percent in 2016-17. He said there was churn within industry as some jobs were disappearing but new jobs with new skillssets were being created.

Nasscom is also working to establish a comprehensive digital skilling platform to reskill 1.5 to 2 million workforce in next 4 to 5 years. The industry body is working with its members and partners to develop the platform, which is likely to take a shape in next few months.

The new talent addition will be a combination of not only tech and but also domain and soft skills. The new job roles will be around cyber security , mobile app development, new user interfaces, social media, data scientists and platform engineering.

The digital platform has identified 55 new age skills which will be in demand broadly in segments like big data analytics, cloud & cyber security services, IoT, service delivery automation, robotics, AI/machine learning/NLP.

Nasscom, which already set up Centre of excellence in IoT at Bengaluru , is also looking to establish centres of excellence in data sciences and cyber security. It also plans to create digital ecosystems connecting startups with enterprises.

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