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Monday, Oct 25, 2004

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Info-Tech - Outsourcing

Dude, did I steal your job?

V. Rishi Kumar

Hyderabad , Oct. 24

IF outsourcing is one of the major debating issues during the ongoing presidential elections in the US, can the Indian techie be out of this hot topic? An Indian tech-writer takes on critics of the Indian programmers with a book and continues his debate against the likes of popular TV anchor, Mr Lou Dobbs of CNN.

In an exclusive chat with Business Line over e-mail, Mr N. Sivakumar, a US-based software engineer and the author of `Dude, did I steal your job?' - Debugging Indian Computer Programmers, takes on Indian tech baiters. He slammed Mr Lou Dobbs for his comments on Indian techies and for calling the foreign high-tech workers as non-tax payers, and "thus humiliating the enormous contributions of foreign high-tech workforce to the American economy."

Mr Sivakumar said, "The pending government bills will be implemented regardless. Some of them have already been implemented. That's a promise state governments made to the workers and public. But when it comes to corporate outsourcing, neither Mr Bush nor Mr Kerry would make an impact. In fact, Mr Kerry who once called outsourcing CEOs `Benedict Arnolds,' (after a famous American war traitor), later acknowledged that outsourcing is beneficial and is something that cannot be controlled. So yes, the debate will continue for sometime, but will gradually die down once people see the benefits.

"This debate will continue for sometime even after the elections. It's too early for people to see the benefits. Understandably, short-term pain has taken more priority. I think it may take at least two more years for this whole debate to die down. Because, least it takes two years for companies to create jobs in newer areas with the money that they saved with outsourcing. " he said.

Rebutting criticism, he said, "Foreign high-tech workers who come here on H-1B and L1 visas pay every tax that US citizens do, including Social Security and Medicare. But if they return to their homeland, they will not get any benefits from these programmes. The recent recession cost the US more than half a million foreign high-tech workers who had to return home after paying all these taxes. In fact, Americans owe them money."

He claims that bringing in foreign high-tech workforce at the right time was the primary reason for America's stupendous high-tech success and gives statistics and evidence to prove that hadn't America acted quickly, the Europeans would have taken over the software dominance.

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