India Inc Welcomes Back Obama
US Elections

07 Nov,2012 14:10 IST

India Inc Welcomes Back Obama

Indian business including Nasscom remain hopeful after Obama's re-election. But Phaneesh Murthy is still wary

BW Online Bureau & Agencies


Fresh from a decisive re-election win, President Barack Obama has little time to savour victory, faced as he is with urgent economic and fiscal challenges and a still-divided Congress capable of blocking his every move.

But in India, the sentiment was mostly positive. Business leaders said on 7 November that re-election of Barack Obama as the US President will be good for global economic recovery and expressed the hope that issues on outsourcing to India will be resolved. The outsourcing chiefs on the other hand kept their fingers crossed that Barack Obama would take a less hawkish stance on the industry during his second term, even as they cheered his re-election as a possible boost to the US economy.

Industry body Ficci said it "expects the new administration to set the US economy firmly on the path of revival and robust growth. This would be of great significance for the world economy and Indian exporters should be looking at a sustained rise in demand in the US".

Nasscom, the industry body of software services companies which earn up to 85 per cent of revenue from the US and European markets, said opposition to outsourcing in the US is actually targetted at the manufacturing sector and not IT services.

"Every time there is anti-outsourcing topic, we always take it as it's for our industry " Nasscom President Som Mittal said, adding that "many of the jobs (in the manufacturing sector in the US) have moved (to China)".

"We are solution to many of the problems that US faces. There is a realisation (in the US) that we are part of the solution," he added.

Software major iGATE's CEO Phaneesh Murthy, however, cautioned by saying that it is not the best news for IT outsourcing industry. "Not the best news for India or the IT outsourcing industry. However, we need to understand how much of the election rhetoric continues into 2013 and that will determine the full implications to us," Murthy said.

"I am hopeful ... there will be more pragmatic approaches to some of the problems," Kris Gopalakrishnan, executive co-chairman of Infosys Ltd said at the WEF meet on the outskirts of Delhi.

"I am hopeful that the US government will do the right thing."

"I think that there will be a lot of economic activity," N. Chandrasekaran, chief executive officer of Tata Consultancy Services, the industry leader, said in response to Obama's re-election. "That translates into significant opportunities for the technology sector."

HCL Technologies, India's fourth-largest software services provider, said in a statement that it hoped Obama's second term would "uplift the business sentiment and lead economic resurgence in America".
However, NIIT Chairman Rajendra S Pawar said that with the election, the rhetoric is also over and "we are back to business. It is good for America and Indian IT sector."

BPO industry veteran and former CEO of Genpact Pramod Bhasin, however, said the issue of outsourcing was more than a plain election rhetoric.

"I think there will be greater implications as he (Obama) focusses on issues like unemployment. I just hope he remains true to free trade and all the other things that he talks about so well," he said.

Biocon chief Kiran Majumdar Shaw expressed the hope that "outsourcing rhetoric will die (down)" and said it is good for the Indian pharmaceutical sector.

"This is a good development for India. Between two large economies there will be issues and concerns. Outsourcing is also a concern and I hope it will be addressed soon," Godrej Group Chairman Adi Godrej told reporters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on India here.

Expressing similar views, Bharti Group Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said: "It is on expected lines but there was some heat reported in the last few days. I think it will be good for India. There will be continuity."

When asked about concerns over outsourcing he said: "I have heard this in the previous election. We saw Mr Clinton go very heavy on outsourcing and we did not see anyone of these impacting our outsourcing business or relationships."

There have been heated discussion on how Indian business interest, especially IT outsourcing, will be impacted if Obama's is re-elected,segment.

Obama in his first term as the US President had ended years of tax incentives to those US companies which created jobs overseas in places like Bangalore. His comments like "Say no to Bangalore and yes to Buffalo," had also set alarm bells ringing in the Indian IT outsourcing industry.

Four More Years For Obama
Obama defeated Republican challenger Mitt Romney on Tuesday night after a grueling presidential race and used his acceptance speech in front of a huge cheering crowd in Chicago to strike a conciliatory note toward his political opponents.

But in the cold light of the election's morning-after, it was clear that even though voters have given their stamp of approval for a second Obama term, he could have a hard time translating that into a mandate to push forward with his agenda.

Americans chose to stick with a divided government in Washington by leaving the U.S. Congress as it has been since the midterm elections of 2010.

Obama's fellow Democrats retain control of the Senate and Republicans keep the majority in the House of Representatives, giving them power to curb the president's legislative ambitions.

This is the political reality that Obama - who won a far narrower victory over Romney than his historic election as the country's first black president in 2008 - faces when he returns to Washington later on Wednesday.
Obama defeated Republican challenger Mitt Romney on Tuesday night after a grueling presidential race and used his acceptance speech in front of a huge cheering crowd in Chicago to strike a conciliatory note toward his political opponents.


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