This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Youth Ki Awaaz. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Ohio Ban on Off-shoring Government IT Projects: Paving the Way for a Dangerous Precedent?

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

By Pradyut Hande:

The Story:

At a time when the Indian IT-BPO industry is again beginning to take rapid strides on the tortuous path towards increased profitability and global recognition, the American state of Ohio has seemingly thrown a major spanner in its wheels. The matter of contention being Ohio’s decision to ban the outsourcing of Government IT and major back-office projects to offshore regions; such as India. The contentious move may have taken many by surprise; but industry watchers and experts alike remain unfazed, having anticipated a move along these lines. Ohio’s latest move to counter rising unemployment levels of almost 11% (compared to the prevalent unemployment rate of 9.6% across the USA) and create greater job opportunities for the local populace may just set a similar precedent – one that may prompt other states, grappling with high unemployment rates and negative public sentiment towards outsourcing scores of jobs, to adopt a similar move.

Viewpoint 1: The State of Ohio –

By banning the outsourcing of government related IT projects to offshore locations like India; purportedly the World’s Outsourcing Hub; the “Ohio think-tank” believes they can address the burning issue of unemployment that presently plagues the world’s oldest democracy. The Ohio Governor, Ted Strickland, a Democrat, is supposedly the brains behind the aforementioned decision. In an executive order passed last month, Strickland says, “There are pervasive service delivery problems with offshore providers, including dissatisfaction with the quality of their services and with the fact that services are provided offshore“.

Governor Strickland’s statement ought to be viewed through a more discerning lens. Granted the fact that there do exist anomalies and shortcomings with regards to offshore service providers that may have caused a certain degree of consternation in Government circles; however, taking away those very jobs/contracts from “initially worthy” offshore providers and handing them to local service providers is not guaranteed to do away with such service delivery impediments. In fact, the very reason such services are outsourced to locations such as India, China and Brazil is to tap the high service quality, delivery proffered by IT-BPO firms at low costs. Hence, Governor Strickland’s decision maybe by viewed as a grossly populist and myopic measure by some quarters, pandering to a growing sense of public discontent and criticism over the entire outsourcing policy.

One must also point out that Governor Strickland is a Democrat. With the impending elections in November round the corner, politicians are liable to unveil any policy/measure that may temporarily alleviate the scourge of unemployment. According to reliable sources, the Democrats are marginally behind at this stage, hence, any move to whip up positive public sentiment is more than welcome – another fact that adds fuel to Governor Strickland’s “populist measure theory”. The move will also pinch the Government’s wallets that would have to shell out a lot more for the same work that would ordinarily have been outsourced to more competent offshore firms. This also begs the question as to how many jobs the Government of Ohio hopes to create through this decision. The jury is definitely out on that one. Only time will tell whether this move actually benefits the common American in any way… whether it actually brings down the alarming unemployment rate to more manageable levels.

Viewpoint 2: The Indian IT-BPO Sector –

India’s IT-BPO exports business accounts for almost $60 billion of the revenues of the sector and the share of the USA in our IT-BPO exports business is a whopping 61%. These are figures that are going to take a serious beating if other American states were to follow in the footsteps of Ohio by banning the outsourcing of Government IT and backoffice projects to offshore locations.

Now one would say that major Indian IT firms like TCS, Wipro and Infosys get a majority of their business from private US-based companies, but off late State Governments have also been outsourcing major projects in order to cut costs, improve margins, efficiency and minimize reliability issues. Hence, Ohio’s move may prove detrimental as it has further fortified the notion that “outsourcing is risky and involves serious loss of jobs”. Job loss to a certain degree is bound to occur when a company undertakes an outsourcing operation – a notable pitfall. TCS is the only Indian IT firm operating in Ohio at present. They along with other Indian firms have continually emphasized on the fact that off-shoring work actually improves company health and efficiency. But evidently, Governor Strickland thinks otherwise.

This latest move coupled with the prospect of facing higher visa costs (reportedly to fund the USA’s Mexico Border Security program) comes as a major blow to the Indian IT-BPO sector; one it would soon have to come to grips with.

One would have to wait and watch to see whether Ohio’s move actually pays off by reducing the levels of unemployment or if they have just shot themselves in the foot. It would also be interesting to note how the Indian firms counter such moves in the future to safeguard their business interests.

You must be to comment.
  1. Shraddha Sankhe

    The BAN expected some Indo-American tug-of-words in order to ensure something for both.
    But alas, The US Senator has already downplayed it. With US President set to arrive in New Delhi on his first Official India tour, the American bureaucracy sure is playing safe.
    Furthermore, Ohio is just one state. There are more than 500 ‘big’ companies all over the American geographical horizon. And they’ve been(and still are) outsourcing most of their brains to India.

    Obama is concerned with the November 2010 Senatorial elections. Simply put, it is political decision to make the locals feel secure. He wants a Democrat majority, in simple words. And Indian businesses are feeling the heat, naturally.

    Thank God, American politics is yet to reach the lows of involving the ‘tactics’ of religious vote-banks. The American economy is only concerned with jobs. And the best advice to the Indian media that is overplaying the impact of the ban is-“Why not just wait and watch?”.
    Come November, and Indian software will be upgraded and very optimistically so.

  2. Guha Rajan

    I feel its no big deal and I believe the ban is for Ohio government contract. I sure government outsourced contract will be negligible. Further, I still feel US has not got to root cause of the problem. This is just simple, any business man will go a place where his $1 USD will fetch more value as long as quality of service is comparable to his expectation.

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

Similar Posts

By Ritwik Trivedi

By shakeel ahmad

By IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below