NEW DELHI, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- One of the darlings of the Indian economy is the information technology industry. But like the current financial year, the next one will be challenging for the 154-billion-U.S. dollar Indian IT sector that employs about four million people.
The projection has come from the software industry lobby Nasscom at its annual India Leadership Forum in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad Tuesday.
"We estimate a 7-to-9 percent growth in IT and IT-enabled services for financial year 2018-19. The domestic revenue may grow at a slightly higher pitch of 10-12 percent, while exports, the mainstay may lag in FY19," Nasscom President R. Chandrashekhar, told the media.
However, according to Nasscom, there is likely to be an export revenue growth of 7 to 8 percent in the next fiscal as compared to 7.6 percent in the current financial year. In the last fiscal, exports earnings rose just 7.6 percent.
"The industry may hire 100,000 new hands in financial year 2018-19, which is again 50 percent lower than what it had projected for this year," he said, forecasting on a pessimistic note a lower-than-projected 7.8 percent growth in IT sector in the current financial year.
While experts attribute this rather flat growth to global headwinds and restrictions put on the movement of Indian IT professionals in the United States, they hope the industry will soon get back on track by tapping new markets and riding on digital spending by companies across the world.
"With visa issues in traditional markets like the U.S., the Indian IT clearly needs to foray into markets like China, Japan, South America and the Middle East. The sector has to tap other global markets rather than just depending on western countries," said Naveen Raj, an IT expert.
"Moreover, digital spending, currently at 180 billion U.S. dollars, may cross some 300 billion U.S. dollars by 2020. This will be the driver in the IT sector's growth," he added.
Experts also say the Indian IT sector, particularly the three largest IT companies -- Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Infosys and HCL -- witnessed leadership changes at the very top in the past one-and-a-half years, which is actually good news.
"These are the country's bluechip IT companies. While leadership change in TCS was smooth, it was turbulent in others like Infosys. "All these companies will have to now focus on stability at the top level apart from proper vision from the management," said Raj.
IT sector employees are also optimistic.
"The next two years will be a game changer for the IT industry. More jobs, more digital spending will fuel growth. Moreover, Digital India is also a growth driver for the industry in the domestic market," said K.L. Sharma, who works in the IT sector.