[sbinews] Kiran Karnik - Recognised

  • From: sbistcbangalore@xxxxxxxx
  • To: sbinews@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 23 Dec 2003 07:20:59 +0500

Karnik Forbes' Face of the Year

NEW DELHI: Nasscom President Kiran Karnik has become the poster boy for India’s 
booming BPO biz. Featured as Face of the Year by Forbes magazine in its 
December issue, Karnik has been described as the man “trying to direct the path 
of the offshoring tsunami”. 

Declaring “offshoring” the most significant business trend of 2003, the article 
notes: “Over the last few years, many crucial ‘white collar’ tech jobs such as 
application development, database design, integration and services have moved 
to India. Tech currently accounts for some 3% of India's gross domestic 
product, or $16.5 billion, up from just $1.7 billion nine years ago.” 

Talking about the BPO wave, can a reference to job losses to US be far behind? 
Forbes says that by 2015, three million US white collar jobs will be farmed out 
to other countries , up from about 300,000, as of date. 

“Whether that is good or bad news for the US economy in the long term is a 
matter of considerable debate, but it could already be having an impact. 
Consider that in the third quarter, US GDP grew 8.2% but the unemployment rate 
dropped only two-tenths of 1%,” the report noted. 

Karnik, a physicist by training who spent two decades with the Indian space 
agency (ISRO), is aware of an impending shortage of sciences and 
engineering-based talent in the United States. (Is Karnik the man behind 
India's BPO success?) 
 Putting the BPO biz in perspective, Karnik tells Forbes : "Offshore 
outsourcing was triggered by the intention to cut costs, but now it's not just 
driven by cost factors. We are helping (US companies) tap into talent that is 
scarce in the United States." 

The magazine notes that offshore outsourcing has been quietly building up for 
years but 2003 will likely be remembered as the year that it burst into the 
mainstream. The magazine acknowleges that despite concerns in the United States 
about unemployment and lost innovation, there is no turning back on 
outsourcing. “The pressure on US companies to cut costs and compete globally is 
too compelling,” the article said. 

Delving on India’s competitive advantage in the BPO and technology space, 
Forbes notes that the country turns out 75,000 IT graduates annually. “In the 
United States, the number of students graduating with computer and information 
science degrees have grown more than 70% since the mid-nineties but are still 
far outpaced by business, social science and education degrees,” Forbes said. 

Allaying fears about US losing technical edge to other countries, Karnik 
acknowledges the rumblings about attendant job loss. "We began to see some 
concern (about loss of US jobs) in 2003 that has not been there in the past, 
but by and large, that is not the mainstream view," he adds. 

He stresses India’s resolve to more than double the country’s share of the 
global software production to six per cent. 

Though acknowledging that India will continue to receive the lion’s share of 
outsourced jobs from US companies, Forbes however does add a note of caution 
with growing competition for outsourcing jobs from professionals in China and 

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