The Indian IT sector, which has grown to about $100 billion in revenues, has witnessed slow growth during Mr Barack Obama’s presidency.

According to Nasscom data, during the last four years since Mr Barack Obama took over as President, for most part, the Indian IT sector has witnessed slowdown in growth rates.

For example, growth in FY08-09 was a mere 8.6 per cent, in FY10-11, it was 15 per cent and in FY11-12, it was 14.7 per cent.

The only exception was in FY09-10, when the sector witnessed an almost 50 per cent growth. This has resulted in higher rate of visa rejections coupled with increased fees. However, it is interesting to note that when the President Mr George Bush was at helm, the Indian IT industry grew at an average of 39 per cent from 2004-08.

When contacted, majority of Indian IT companies declined to comment citing industry body Nasscom as their voice.

Playing down the political issue, Mr Som Mittal, President, Nasscom, told Business Line: “Business is not related to election. Historically, it is not so. We cannot take one parameter for slow down in business as right now other issues such as economic concern is also there.”

Head honchos like Mr Phaneesh Murthy, President and CEO of iGate, told Business Line that election issues are a major cause of concern as their clients generally put a freeze on any IT investments due to the uncertainty of outcome.

“There is a little bit of paralysis in the IT market during the election year, with clients choosing to defer decisions on spends,” said Mr Lanny Cohen, Chief Executive Officer (North America) of Capgemini.

Mid-size Indian companies are worried too about increasing costs due to visa rejections.

“We face high visa rejections and are trying to hire in the US. However, this makes our costs go up,” said Mr Ramalingam S, Director, Enterprise Business, Acropetal Technologies.

The Department of Homeland Security has capped annual visa issuances to 65,000 and this is impacting Indian IT companies.

According to data available, Infosys had filed for 2,000 H1-B visas in FY12 against 3,000 in the 2011 fiscal.

(With inputs from K.V. Kurmanath in Hyderabad and Ronendra Singh in Delhi)

venkatesh.ganesh @thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on June 29, 2012)
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