Fruits of India’s information technology (IT) revolution have not gone to engineers, whose entry-level salary hasn’t changed in the past nearly two decades, and it was real estate players who reaped them, saysa senior figure in the industry.
Former Karnataka IT Secretary Vivek Kulkarni said the starting salary of an engineer in the year 2000 when he was holding the position was Rs three lakh, a figure which has remained the same even on today.
“What about real estate? Suppose you buy a real estate in JP Nagar in Bengaluru in 2000 and you want to buy now, what’s the difference?. It must have gone up eight to ten times. That means the fruits of our IT revolution has not gone to engineers, it has gone to real estate people,” he told.
“We are investing much for building our (IT) centres,(but) we need to do a little bit more for employees, train them; they (IT companies) have cash and they need to do that,” said Kulkarni, founder of Brickwork India, which offers virtual assistance, market research and business plans to a large number of small customers.
Kulkarni, who served as Karnataka IT secretary from 1999to 2003, and also was Finance Secretary (Budger & Resources)before that, also said technology has changed drastically, and”now we don’t necessarily need too many people to go on(software) coding.”
In new technologies, Indian IT companies have not invested enough, and it’s a challenge, he said.
Lakhs of engineers with “no quality and no proper curriculam” pass out from colleges in India. “That’s also our big mistake. What we call demographic dividend…what we are producing is not fully acceptable.” There is a big need for retooling the skills of IT engineers. But he also said Indian IT companies are not doing high-end work.
The US does not have IT talent, which has to come from India, and Indian IT companies need to expand their presence in their key markets, according to him.
“You must be near to the market, you must have people in the market. The presence has to be expanded, you need those people, then only you will be successful in the market.”
Cash-rich Indian companies need to acquire firms overseas though they have become expensive in recent times.
In addition to the US, Indian IT companies need to tap other markets such as Europe, particularly France where the new President (Emmanuel Macron) is “one of the best guys”, and Japan, with which New Delhi’s relations are very good.
In fact, India’s relations with foreign countries are now at a “much higher level”, and Indian IT companies need to capitalise on them, Kulkarni added.