Protectionism delays recovery: Anand Sharma
Mumbai, Feb 13 : Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma on Wednesday urged the developed nations to remain committed to open markets and zealously guard against protectionism.
Speaking at the 21st NASSCOM India Leadership Forum 2013 in Mumbai on Wednesday, Sharma said, "I have in all my interactions with leaders of the developed world argued for freer and more open markets, which allow easier movements of professionals."
He observed that historically, the countries tend to look inwards, when faced with recessionary trends and said "this is not the right approach".
"On the contrary, protectionism becomes counterproductive, delaying recovery and deepening recession," he said.
Quoting from the study by Prof. Salinger of the Tuck School of Business, which analysed the practices of 2500 American MNCs, Sharma said, empirical evidence suggested that for every job outsourced to India, nearly two new jobs were generated in the US.
"Let us remember that just as America has off-shored some of its work to India, Indian companies are outsourcing activities to American companies, including software development," he said.
The Minister said that the Indian software professionals add to competitive strengths of various economies in the world, improving efficiencies and driving the process of change.
"Erecting artificial barriers will only end up hurting economies and not supporting the cause of the domestic industry," he said.
Speaking about the Indian IT industry, Sharma observed that the information technology has been at the heart of technology revolution in India and has been the single most enabling factor in powering India's economic growth.
He recalled, how late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, who laid the foundation for the IT industry by establishing technology missions, was ridiculed and criticized by all and sundry, and how all of them have been proven wrong today.
Re-emphasising the government support for the IT and ITES sector, Sharma said he is optimistic of the sector contributing US USD 175 billion by 2020 and generating 10 million direct jobs.
During 2012-13, the Indian IT and ITES industry exports reached USD 75.8 billion and the provided direct employment to 3 million people.
Sharma and Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan also presented NASSCOM 2013 Social Innovation Honours to 8 unique achievers for their contribution towards bridging the digital divide.
Technology innovations that received the honours included, Saksham Scholarship Management Programme by National Informatics Centre, Lucknow aimed at eliminating corruption in scholarship distribution, easy to use mobile telephony based money transfer scheme of Yes Bank, home-link network of Don Bosco Foundation for tracking missing children, mobile based crop estimation technology, Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra's (Jharkhand) technology innovation for teaching dyslexic children and the women in distress mobile app called Stipator. UP's IVRS based Mid-Day Meal delivery tracking programme received the UNICEF honours.
The social innovation awardees were selected by an eminent jury, headed by former TCS CEO S Rama Durai.