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Building CNP Status in IT

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DQI Bureau
New Update

One of the most interesting conversations I had in April was with the man who

could well claim to be one of the architects of the modern software exports

industry, N Vittal. The stories of push and pull between the Department of

Electronics, the nascent IT industry of those days and the powers that be in the

government will find their way into a book on the history of the industry, which

a journalist colleague and I have just started work on. But one theme that he

mentioned which I have now completely researched and thought about is the

imperative for any country to aspire to become a comprehensive national power (CNP).

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Speaking at an international conference on China and East Asia in Seoul, in

2004, Hu Angang, director of the Center for China Studies at Tsinghua University

defined the concept of CNP as the comprehensive capability of a country to

pursue its strategic objectives by taking actions internationally that

demonstrates its economic and military might and leverage its strategic

resources in science and technology, human resources and skills, and enables it

to exert influence on the global stage.

Speaking about CNP at the annual Regional Conference of the Confederation of

Indian Industries (CII) in southern India, the challenges facing India in its

move to improve its CNP standing was discussed by an interesting panel drawn

from industry, academia, labor, industry associations, and the press. The key

problems identified were those that have become an oft repeated refrain: the

widening gap between the super rich and the hundreds of millions of the

underprivileged segments of society, the alarming lack of quality education,

skilled development and research, and the declining productivity standards at

all levels of the economy.

Ganesh Natarajan

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Today, the awareness of IT and the global career opportunities it creates is

almost as widespread as the love for cricket in our country and it is very

feasible to harness this awareness and skill of the IT workforce for the overall

benefit of all industrial and agricultural sectors. One tangential benefit of

the impending slowdown in the western economies may well be that much of the

intellectual property and systems thinking capabilities that lie embedded in the

large project experience of the hundreds of software export firms, could be

leveraged to build high quality applications to improve the throughput in the

factories, offices, and farms around the country. And if the same technological

capabilities are also brought in to school, college and vocational education in

the country to transform curriculum, pedagogy and reinforcement learning

mechanisms in both urban and rural classrooms, it is conceivable that the

gargantuan challenge of making millions of skilled knowledge workers available

to all the services segments might still be faced and surmounted successfully.

The IT industry needs to stand up to be counted and take the lead in the major

challenge of skilled resource creation on a national scale.

Strategic capabilities that the industry will have to build include

predictable quality of products and processes, flexible business and delivery

models and innovation in all aspects of marketing and delivering the services.

As the industry grows from its present $60 bn level to $100 bn by 2010, with

over $75 bn of exports, the scrutiny of the worldcustomers, competitors and

aspiring countrieswill only increase and every mistake will be magnified.

Will all this enable Indian IT and BPO to reach the pinnacle of success and

stay there for a decade or more? It will need an ongoing partnership of the

industry with all the key ecosystem participantsacademic institutions, industry

associations, funding agencies and of course the government.

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