An Independence Day Special: India’s Freedom To Code

An Independence Day Special: India’s Freedom To Code
An Independence Day Special: India’s Freedom To Code

Introduction     

India is planning to celebrate its 74 years of independence with year-long celebrations following its 75th Independence Day. The government has planned to showcase 10 projects throughout the year with special importance placed on development and technology.

Also, technology has been India’s most focused upon sector since the last few decades as it is enabling this massive country to become a global market and IT powerhouse. 

Notably, the Indian IT industry has been estimated to generate $150 billion from export revenue in 2021, which is a substantial increase from FY2020. Also, it has been predicted that India will be spending about $80 billion on the IT industry during 2021. This means more jobs and more opportunities for people who love to code. 

After being free of the British colonials, we have made our way into glory through will, skill, and talented human assets. We have become a country that is looked up to in terms of trained manpower and sheer IT dominance. This Independence Day, let’s look back into what made India the global IT giant it is today. Let’s check out how much we have achieved since our freedom from colonial repression.

India’s Path to IT Dominance

The global IT market and IT spending took a devastating toll during the pandemic. However, India’s IT sector is all set to keep growing. The IT industry in India has generated over $194 billion during the fiscal year 2020-2021, which is a substantial 2.3% increase in total revenue.

According to NASSCOM, the industry added 138,000 professionals into its national workforce during 2020, totaling about 447,000 IT employees. Experts state that the recruitment rates would not decline anytime soon and there will simply be more job openings in the years to come.

India has proven itself to be immensely successful in delivering services for both local tech or IT giants and other top MNCs. It is also leading the world in terms of advanced technologies or innovations that are being deployed by Indian IT firms. 

Further, India is the best outsourcing destination in the world, with over 55% of the global market share for IT and software outsourcing. It also holds the biggest chunk of the United States’ outsourcing budget ($200-$250 million). Revenue from the IT sector will increase to over $300 billion in value in the next 5 years. 

Besides, the software product industry by itself has been estimated to reach $100 billion by 2025. Just the AI data annotation market generated over $250 million in 2021 and is expected to reach $7 billion by 2030. This is great news for budding coding enthusiasts who wish to work with AI or delve into machine learning and deep learning.

Setting aside the revenue India generates from exporting, the IT industry has been expected to generate $45 billion from domestic revenue. Even amid the pandemic, there seems to be a bright future for computer science professionals and skilled programmers in India.

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Even the BPO and KPO sectors are in dire need of skilled programmers. And, India is already the best country in business process outsourcing. It has the largest market for offshoring services. And, every offshore service needs custom tool suites, proprietary software, support systems, and manpower skilled in IT.

India’s Near Future in IT

With over a thousand SaaS startups that have been funded and some with a value of over $1 billion, the SaaS ecosystem has the potential to reach $1 trillion in valuation by 2030. The industry will also employ over 5 lakh IT professionals and coders by then. The SaaS industry already employs about 40,000 people in India. 

India has acquired foreign direct investment worth $69.29 billion for the software and hardware sectors just between April and September of 2020. It is also becoming the ultimate hub for blockchain and AI, with local IT giants such as TCS, Infosys, Wipro, and Tech Mahindra diversifying their services and offerings.

Many large MNCs and Indian firms are also involved in building innovation hubs and development centers for advanced research. 

The government has allocated $7.31 billion for the IT and telecom sectors, thus we can expect more development in IT-centric cities and government-backed projects. India is also the third-largest IT startup hub in the world, being home to over 7200 startups according to NASSCOM.

The Government of India alongside the Department of Higher Education has also launched an innovation challenge for creating learning applications and enabling education.

India has understood that the IT industry will enable further glory for the country on an international level and also help citizens in the process during the coming years. In addition, it will soon reach a billion internet users, with the country having the fastest-growing online user base. 

There is no end to how much India is advancing towards total IT dominance. In 2021, the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (or CDAC) has introduced three different innovative technologies.

These proprietary high-performance computing solutions are cybersecurity operation center as a service, automatic parallelizing compiler, and parallel development environment. 

Moreover, the country has signed multiple MoUs with countries such as Japan for improving 5G technology and other telecom security aspects.

The government has also introduced OSP or the Simplified Other Service Provider guidelines for making it easy to do business related to BPO, IT, KPO and other IT-enabled services.

Historically Important Years that Led to India’s Reign in IT

Here are some important years throughout India’s history that led India to become the global IT powerhouse it is today.

  • 1951: The first IIT was founded in Kharagpur and was inaugurated by India’s first Education Minister Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.
  • 1960: The first working computer was developed in India and offered to the country by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
  • 1963: IBM 1620 was installed at IIT Kanpur, the first computer that ran FORTRAN in India. 
  • 1966: The first UG program in computer science and M.Tech in computer science was introduced in IIT Kanpur.
  • 1968: TCS was founded by J.R.D. Tata. TCS has become India’s crown jewel in IT and eventually surpassed IBM, helping India dominate global markets with ease.
  • 1970: The Department of Electronics or DoE was set up for fueling the growth of computers and electronics in the country.
  • 1973: The first IT software park was built in Mumbai for promoting software exports and IT investment.
  • 1977: NIC or National Informatics Centre was founded. NIC maintains and develops all official websites used by districts, states, and national departments.
  • 1978: Computer manufacturing was opened up to the private sector and companies such as HCL took the Minicomputer Policy to heed.
  • 1980: MCA or the Master of Computer Applications program was introduced alongside Tally, India’s most renowned accounting software.
  • 1981: Infosys was founded. It has now become another massive IT giant.
  • 1982: Wipro entered the IT industry as Wipro Products Ltd. instead of Western India Vegetable Products Limited.
  • 1984: RBI recommended that all banks must have EDP or electronic data processing with all back-office operations being supported by computers.
  • 1988: DoE introduced the first CDAC in Pune while the National Association of Software and Services Companies or NASSCOM was also founded.
  • 1990: India built its first STP or software technology park in Bengaluru. Many other STPs were set up throughout the coming years.
  • 1991: India opened up its global markets and foreign companies started pouring in.
  • 1998: The internet service provider policy was introduced that allowed non-government companies to provide internet services in India.
  • 2002: Private universities were allowed to set up technical institutes.
  • 2005: The Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Act was passed. And, special economic zones were built that facilitated duty-free import of hardware and tax concessions. This allowed the IT industry to start booming in India. Within two years, there were over 257 IT companies that were set up in SEZs. Export earnings of Indian companies reached $50 billion in 2010 as compared to $2 billion in 1998.

The Evolution of the IT Industry in India

The evolution of IT all started with the founding of IIT in Kharagpur during 1951 and massive local giants such as TCS and Infosys coming into existence. These companies started competing with MNCs such as IBM and giving them a run for their money.

The success of TCS and Infosys, alongside the emerging HCL, inspired India to delve into IT more and promote development in this sector. Soon, personal computers were introduced to common folk and this inspired many to learn Computer Science and work in IT in the later years.

The support from the government through multiple IT parks that sprung up during the following years and various tax exemptions encouraged many other smaller IT firms to come into existence. This was especially true after the period following India opening itself up to import and export from 1991 onwards.

IBM was already there in India since 1951, however, they had to leave once India decided to close its doors to foreign companies.

IBM later on again came back to India, alongside companies such as Microsoft and HP during the 1990s.

Google followed suit by opening up its offices in India in 2004 with just five employees, now they have thousands of IT professionals working in India, having the second-largest employee base here outside the US.

Many other companies started building their bases in cities such as Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, and Pune such as Oracle, Deloitte, Cognizant, and Accenture. Eventually, this massive country saw the number of IT professionals grow immensely while India benefitted heavily from both the export and domestic revenue from this sector.

The Emergence of Unicorn IT Startups in India

Once India reached the 2010s, the country experienced a new boom of unicorn startups, many of which are currently valued in billions. Flipkart entered the market in 2012 and is currently valued at over $37.6 billion. Many other companies such as Snapdeal, Paytm, Ola, Zomato, Quikr followed soon enough, all valued in billions now.

These companies heavily relied on IT professionals and IT infrastructure, thus, promoting more development and hiring thousands of programmers and other software engineers in their wake. There are many other billion-dollar companies that sprung up in recent years (post-2018), such as BYJUs, Swiggy, OYO, Delhivery, and Bigbasket, all of whom relied on applications and IT infrastructure, thus ensuring that the IT industry in India simply kept expanding.

Fintech is another huge industry that has a bright future and companies such as Razorpay, Zeta, BharatPe, and CoinDCX proved that by going public (IPO) after 2020 but already being valued at billions.

Indian Women in IT

Women started joining IT extensively after 1990, currently making up 34% of the entire IT workforce. Companies are now ensuring that they hire more women to balance out gender diversity and granting a lot of opportunities for women developers and CEOs.

There are many CEOs and top-tier managers who are women, such as Roshni Nadar Malhotra, the chairperson of HCL and the first Indian woman to lead an IT company that has gone public. There are also many others such as Sumana Iyengar, the CEO, and co-founder of Goavega.

There are also others such as ​Inderpreet Sawhney (Chief Compliance Officer, Infosys) and Aarthi Subramanian (Chief Digital Officer, TCS, and then Tata Sons). According to NASSCOM, women only contributed to 21% of the entire workforce in 2001.

However, things are changing now, and the numbers might soon reach 40% in a few years. This does not necessarily mean that men are getting hired less, men in IT have also seen perpetual growth, it’s just that more and more IT professionals are getting jobs due to the ever-expanding nature of this industry in India.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the leading MNCs in India that employ coders?

Microsoft, IBM, Amazon, Google and many other companies employ skilled programmers in India.

What are some large Indian IT companies?

TCS, Infosys and Wipro are some leading IT companies that originated in India.

What is the opportunity for fintech and e-commerce?

Fintech has been estimated to become a trillion-dollar industry in India soon alongside the e-commerce industry expecting a massive 27% CAGR till 2024.

Is India going to lead in IT during the years ahead?

Yes, India has a bright future ahead and will be the global leader in IT and software products.

What are some other important sectors that are important for CS professionals and programmers?

Hardware, BPO, KPO, bioinformatics, biotechnology, automotive and aviation are some important sectors for programmers. This is due to all of these industries requiring immense support of programmers, software suites and support systems.

How much is India’s current IT industry valuation?

India’s IT industry is currently valued at about $194 billion.

How much is expected to be spent in IT during 2021?

India is expected to spend about $93 billion in IT during this year.

When was the period of growth in IT for India?

India’s IT industry started growing from 1998 onwards and has not stopped developing till now. It is expected to keep growing for years to come.

How many IT professionals are there in India?

India is home to over 4,100,000 IT professionals.

Key Takeaways

During 1998, India’s serving PM had declared that ‘IT is India’s tomorrow.’ And, this stands true to this day. During these 74 years of independence, India has generated billions of dollars and many IT giants.

It would not be possible without the ample amount of skilled human resources we have and especially not without the great people who have been leading India’s path to IT dominance. It is because of them that we enjoy our freedom and also the freedom to code.

It is up to us how we wish to utilize this freedom, so why not give it our all and take this country even further. Jawaharlal Nehru mentioned ‘Tryst with Destiny’ during his famous speech in 1947, now we know that being the leading country in IT was what was destined for us all along.

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