'IT imports will be worth $400 billion in 2020'

Panaji, Feb 20 (IANS) India's information technology (IT) imports will be worth $400 billion by the year 2020, much more than the country's oil imports, a top industry honcho said Wednesday.

J.V. Ramamurthy, president and chief operating officer of HCL Infosystems said India had to catch the IT and electronics manufacturing bus now, and make the most of it, or face a huge trade deficit.

"By 2020, India's IT imports are expected to be nearly $400 billion. It is expected to overtake India's oil imports. But our projected manufacture is pegged at $100 billion, a shortfall of nearly $300," Ramamurthy told IANS on the sidelines of a workshop here.

Ramamurthy is also the president of the Manufacturers' Association of Information Technology (MAIT).

If the shortfall of $300 billion was not filled by Indian companies, he said India would only have to rely on imports to fill the gap. "Not a good scenario as far as trade balance is concerned," Ramamurthy said.

"There is so much headroom for us to increase. Our industry has to seize the opportunity, otherwise lose to international competition. But the Indian industry is doing nothing about it," he further said.

The top official further said that there was tremendous headroom for the sector to grow because while internet penetration in western countries like the United States was 650 per 1,000 homes, in India it was only 55 per 1,000.

Ramamurthy further said that while India was doing well as far as software export was concerned, it had ignored the electronics and hardware aspects to its own peril.

"The years 2000-10 was a cellular decade. But 2010 to 2020 is going to be an information technology decade. This is when laptops and tablets and other computing devices are set to flourish," he said.

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