While US debates outsourcing and Indian firms get e-governance projects in the US, projects in India for India are being fought for.
Major US IT and consultancy firms have presence in India and their Indian arms are bidding for these projects. The center and state governments are moving towards IT solutions to fasten processes by reducing the paper work involved.
Aadhaar attracted quite a bit of media attention because of its scale and the people involved. There are initiatives like the Common Services Centers Scheme (part of the National e-Governance Plan) don’t get the deserved media attention but are widespread into the remote villages of India. An objective of setting up 100,00+ front-end computer centers for villagers.
Sachin Pilot, Union Minister for Communications and Technology has said that 3G and mobile base stations will be rolled out in Maharashtra as part of this initiative making Pune, Latur and Nagur e-districts. This has been followed by a promise to invest $3.4 Billion to enhance the rural communication networks.
There is tough competition for these government projects, some examples where US IT firms have trumped Indian companies are:
- Common Services Center – Microsoft
- Tax Net project by the Central Board of Direct Taxes and LIC’s CRM project – IBM (they also have a 10 year deal with Jet Airways for IT solutions.)
- Ernst & Young and Accenture are participating in Aadhaar.
- PWC is a consultant on some of the e-Governance initiatives.
When asked about disallowing US firms from these projects, Infosys Director TV Mohandas Pai said, "Nobody likes a closed market. Markets have to open. Only then we can do business. We must not do anything like this because the government of India is entitled to best service. Only by keeping our markets open can we force other markets to be open."
We’re a global economy, the US government should take steps to protect the interests of its citizens but there’s a lot happening that is not talked about.