What has been India’s greatest export to the USA in the past decade? It is not cotton yarn and fabrics; it is not drugs and pharmaceuticals and it, most certainly, isn’t gems and jewels. It is a vast mix of white-collar professionals, particularly Doctors and Engineers.
Bangalore has long been making waves for being the city that brought about the IT renaissance in India. But, its existence was taken to an all new level after being mentioned in one of the policies of the US president, Barack Obama, dubbed as the ‘Say no to Bangalore and yes to Buffalo’ policy, wherein, tax-incentives given to American companies that created jobs overseas in places like Bangalore would be scrapped and instead, be given to those creating jobs inside the U.S., in places like Buffalo. Since then, Obama has made frequent calls to the American companies to stop their overt reliance on India and China for man-power and skilled labour, and to look for employment from within the country.
Plagued by insufficient infrastructure and policy paralysis, year by year, there is a mass exodus of skilled professionals from India, looking to make it big in environments that are more conducive to work. With its technological advancement and resource availability, America is seen as a hot destination. Hence, every year, we have a whole bunch of fellow Indians, armed with visas and work permits, flying across the globe to live the great American dream.
The IT boom at the turn of the century was followed by a number of American companies looking to set offshore centres in growing economies like India. That resulted in a plethora of job opportunities for the country with the highest youth population in the world. Youngsters, who otherwise were afraid of staying unemployed, due to lack of resources in the country, found themselves working in BPO’s; call-centres in particular. Although it meant they had to put up fake accents and at times be subjected to abusing foreigners, they were happy to be in a position where they received pay checks.
But with the latest change in stance, the Indian outsourcing industry will be hit and hit hard. Not only will the companies in America be apprehensive about setting up centres at new shores, but also this sudden feel of national empowerment will lead to lesser issue of work permits to people from other countries.
However, looking at it from a different angle, this change in American policy can also do wonders to our own country. With the increment in the number of unemployed youth, the government, which all this time has been unable to rest the growing divide between inflation and unemployment, will be forced to retort to drastic measures and come up with strong, sustainable policies. But judging by the current political scenario in the country, a realist wouldn’t bet too many hopes on such positive changes.