Prasad convenes IT meet, hires McKinsey for roadmap

Union information technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has convened a meeting of top IT companies next month to address the talk about massive job losses in the sector and to brainstorm with the CEOs for the next phase of growth.

The chief executives of Infosys, Wipro, TCS, HCL and other IT companies are expected to take part in the meeting which is scheduled for the first week of June.

The government has hired McKinsey & Co to prepare a strategy roadmap for digital services in the country as it expects the turnover of digital, communications and IT industry to grow nearly four-fold to $1 trillion by 2022, Prasad said in media interviews on Friday.

"The Indian IT ecosystem is very robust and promising," Prasad told The Times of India, adding that it may create over four million jobs in the next few years.

"Where is this talk coming about job losses? I am a little surprised myself," he said. "Companies have added jobs."

Industry body Nasscom has estimated that there will be 2.5-3 million new jobs by 2025. It said reports about mass layoffs by IT companies were incorrect. "It may even cross 4 million. If I am talking about the promise of India's digital economy there is a basis for this. All this is part of the Digital India economy," Prasad said.

He cited data from staffing companies which expect hiring to increase in the sector in the current year. "Ultimately technology creates opportunity. Internet and other advancements are only going to create more opportunities. Don't underestimate the power of innovation," he said.

In another interview with The Financial Express, the minister reiterated that India's digital economy was poised to grow to $1 trillion by 2022 from the current $355 billion. ''There is huge scope to increase the job potential in the sector. Once McKinsey submits its report a new foundation for the future would be laid,'' he said.

''The talk of huge job cuts in the IT sector is completely wrong and both Nasscom and company heads are denying it. There are some adjustments which is a normal feature and re-skilling is required in the IT sector,'' Prasad said, adding the fear of job losses is exaggerated.

Industry body Nasscom had last week said that industry has been adding around 2 lakh jobs each year for the past three years, added 170,000 jobs in FY17 and would add 150,000 this fiscal.