Commerce Minister dispels myth of Indian firms taking away US jobs


Commerce min

With the India and United States Strategic and Commercial Dialogue in Washington DC commencing on September 22, India’s Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman spoke about the substantial contribution of Indian companies to US job creation and investments.

She spoke at an event organised by the Carnegie Endowment think-tank that hosted a conversation between Ms Sitharaman and US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, on the release of an Indian tech industry report by the National Association of Software and Services Companies. Titled ‘Contributions of India’s Tech Industry to the US Economy’, the report was released by Ms Sitharaman on Monday ahead of the first Indo-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue.

The Indian Commerce and Industry Minister dispelled myths of Indian companies taking away jobs from US professionals. Citing the NASSCOM report, she said it actually showed the magnitude of these companies’ contribution towards US jobs and investments. Indian IT organisations benefit from access to the US market “just as American IT organisations benefit from their investments and operations in India,” she said.

According to the report, Indian IT companies invested more than USD 2 billion in the US during 2011-13; paid USD 22.5 billion in taxes since 2010 and were directly or indirectly supporting 411,000 jobs here till date.

“Indian IT companies were significantly contributing to the ‘profitability, technology and innovation,’ being done by American firms,” India’s Ambassador to US Arun Singh said.

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) had come out with a similar report in July 2015, which showed Indian firms operating in the US had created at least 91,000 jobs and committed USD 15.3 billion in FDI across all 50 states.

In addition to jobs, investments and taxes paid, the report estimated that philanthropic activities by Indian IT companies touched more than 120,000 American lives in 2011-2013. These had a major focus on educating more Americans in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills increasingly needed by the US employers. A majority of these jobs are held by US citizens and permanent residents, said the report.

It also documented charitable activities by Indian IT services companies in the US through volunteers, scholarships and grants such as a $35 million gift from Tata Consultancy Services to Carnegie Mellon University announced last month.

However, Indian companies taking away US jobs, has been a major bone of contention between the two nations, especially in the US and has affected the relations between the two countries.

Alleged abuse of H-1B visas by Indian companies has for long been a sore point between the two sides. The other prickly issue has been India’s demands for increasing the number of H-1B visas to benefit tech companies. The issue of outsourcing too has been hotly debated in the US domestic politics with political candidates making their stand based on their target segment.

In a recent development the US Department of Labour cleared Indian IT giant Infosys of visa violation charges. The non-immigrant visas of H-1B and L-1 are the most sought after visas in the US by foreign workers to work in high skill technology sectors. Indians get the maximum number of these visas in the US.

Reports from NASSCOM, CII and the clearance of Infosys of visa fraud by US Department of Labour strengthens India’s claims ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US and the scheduled bilateral meeting with US President Barack Obama.

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