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BW Businessworld

Reskill, Survive, Thrive

Globalisation has obliterated distance, not just physically but also, most dangerously, mentally. It creates the illusion of intimacy when, in fact, the mental distances have changed little. It has concertinaed the world without engendering the necessary respect, recognition and tolerance that must accompany it — Martin Jacques

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Globalisation is all about free movement of goods, services, and labour. The cause of globalisation has traditionally been championed by the West and countries like India have only embraced it hesitantly — but suddenly, the wind seems to have changed direction. Isn’t it ironical that President Donald Trump, with his “Buy American” dogma and an excessive zeal for clamping down on immigration, should be leading the new wave of de-globalisation and protectionism? Many US presidents have played to the gallery on issues like H1B before. While the Trump Administration blames Indian companies for “cornering the lion’s share of H1B visas”, reports hint that most of these permits were with American companies.

President Trump recently signed a “Buy American, Hire American” executive order to stop the “abuse” of the H1B visa programme and to “ensure that the visas are given to the most-skilled, or highest-paid”, raising hackles in both government circles and the $150-billion IT industry in India. During his recent visit to the US, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, predictably took up the issue with US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. Infosys has, meanwhile, announced that it would expand its local hiring in the US to 10,000 Americans, a move the White House sees as a “political victory”. Our cover story dissects the controversy surrounding the H1B visa programme and its implication for the Indian IT ecosystem. Our Chief Innovation Officer, Hoshie Ghaswalla, who has pieced together the package, concludes that the Indian IT industry, should not view the crisis as a threat, but as an opportunity to reskill, survive and indeed, thrive.

The legend on our cover debunks the notion that IT outsourcing was heading towards a “doomsday” and predicts that with reskilling “booms day” would prevail. The cover package includes interviews with Nasscom chairman Raman Roy, Tech Mahindra CEO, C. P. Gurnani and Karnataka IT Minister Priyank Kharge. We also have a report on the current job prospects in the IT industry. As former Slovenian president, Janez Drnovšek had once remarked, “One of the fundamental questions of today’s world is undoubtedly the question of equitable globalisation.” We hope our cover story addresses the issue.

While the monsoons will ostensibly be “normal”, correspondent Naina Sood sifts through government data and finds that the drinking water situation in the country is alarming and that water conservation and water harvesting need to be prioritised on a war-footing. Deputy editor Sutanu Guru looks beyond the brouhaha over taxing farm income. Senior associate editor, Ashish Sinha, scrutinises the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act and our Mumbai bureau chief, Clifford Alvares, looks at the implications of a stronger rupee, and a stock market on a bull run. Finally, BW’s editorial lead Vaishali Dar, interviews the husband-wife duo of Dilip Venkatraman and Savvy Dilip, who are building a global technology company out of India. Happy reading!

Tags assigned to this article:
globalization H1-BVisa commerce