Wednesday February 21, 2018

Are Indian Techies safe abroad?

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By Aakash Sinha

In this era of globalization, competition is increasing in every field. In India, jobs in IT sector are multiplying day by day and the craze among the employees to go abroad is on a high note.

Nirman Jain, an employee in the reputed firm ‘IBM’ was very proud upon his first onsite posting in Jordan but his family had security concerns. On the borders of Syria and Iraq, this country is at a high risk location.  These locations are sometimes good for you as companies pay a hefty package and allowances.  IBM paid him a daily hardship allowance of about 40 Jordanian Dinar (roughly Rs.4,000). He was able to buy a house in Bangalore after spending three years in Jordan continued in South Africa.

But these packages are not given by all companies. Another employee, Rahul Bhatnagar working in a large Indian IT firm didn’t got a single penny extra after working in Iraq for 3 years. He also had a narrow escape from the country couple of times. Finally, he is back to home after resigning his job.

Rules and Regulations monitoring Allowances

IT firms like IBM, Cognizant etc. are bound to give extra allowances to employee sent to high risk locations due to US regulations. But in India, there are no rules and regulations to monitor these allowances given by IT firms. Thus, it is different for different Indian companies.

The issue is tending as the countries like London, Brussels, Paris and Sydney which was considered safe before are now prone to terrorist activities. Raghavendran Ganeshan, an employee of Infosys (an IT firm) was killed in the recent attack in Brussels. These incidents are giving rise to family concerns.

Huge Indian employees working abroad

According to Nasscom, IT services firms have deployed about 500,000 Indians overseas. Where these employees are working? There is no data available to show region wise deployment of Indian workers.

As the whole whole world is now engulfed by ‘Terrorism’, experts think that hardship allowances and insurance will cover the hiring pattern very soon.

“When companies such as IBM pay hardship allowances, it will put pressure on other IT firms to follow suit as otherwise it will increasingly become difficult for the latter to attract talent,” says Sanchit Gogia, CEO, Greyhound Research.

As mentioned earlier there are no specific rule in India regarding the extra allowances which results in the variation in different IT firms. “There are enough people willing to go to locations such as the Middle-East and Africa because of the additional allowance they receive over and above their salary,” says Kris Lakshmikanth, CEO of Headhunters India.

“It is cheaper to pay compensation after an unfortunate incident than paying risk allowance or insuring an employee,” says Lakshmikanth.

However, Nasscom Chairman BVR Mohan Reddy says that IT companies are doing a lot for employees in risky areas.

“The firms take good insurance cover on dynamic premium tariffs. The covers are much larger than are offered in India,” he says. While most of the top IT firms declined to give on-record comments for this report, Tech Mahindra said that it has put in place various measures to ensure that employees who travel abroad on work are taken care of in the event of a crisis.

Safety measures that could be taken by employees

“All associates travelling to certain countries can download a mobile app and get alerts on their mobiles about medical, clinical, and security measures and precautions to adopt. We also provide emergency response services and support,” says Rakesh Soni, Chief People Officer of Tech Mahindra.  He added that the company offers its employees comprehensive insurance.

Sudhir Chaturvedi, Chief Operating Officer of NIIT Technologies, which has employees in Brussels, says the company has protocols to deal with terror attacks. “We alert our staffers and facilitate conversations with their family members back home. Should they want to come back from the place in question, we will arrange for that,” he said. NIIT Technologies set up a war room after the Brussels attacks.

In accordance with the above steps, the employee should assess all the past conditions of the host country before migrating there. Also, they should think about their families before taking such decisions.

Aakash is pursuing B.E , Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Sir M. Visvesvaraya Institute of Technology, Bangalore.

Twitter:@aakashsinha1994

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Copyright 2016 NewsGram

  • sudheer naik

    Indian firms take our weaknesses in such a manner they take it as a granted.

  • Navmi Arora

    Cyber crime is not country specific. Even with all the strict laws in the US and other places, the numbers are increasing.

  • Jagpreet Kaur Sandhu

    Well Indian techies are quite respected abroad as for work.

Next Story

How telecom has become driver of economic change in India

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The country's hyper-competitive telecom sector has led the revolution from the front.
The country's hyper-competitive telecom sector has led the revolution from the front. Wikimedia Commons
  • India has done well to stay ahead of the curve in the technological revolution
  • The sectoral change in productivity has been the highest in the telecommunications sector since the reforms of 1991
  • India has managed to provide the cheapest telephony services around the world

For the most part of human history, the change was glacial in pace. It was quite safe to assume that the world at the time of your death would look pretty much similar to the one at the time of your birth. That is no longer the case, and the pace of change seems to be growing exponentially. Futurist Ray Kurzweil put it succinctly when he wrote in 2001: “We won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century – it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today’s rate).” Since the time of his writing, a lot has changed, especially with the advent of the internet.

India has done well to stay ahead of the curve in the technological revolution. The country’s hyper-competitive telecom sector has led the revolution from the front. In fact, according to Reserve Bank of India data, the sectoral change in productivity has been the highest in the telecommunications sector since the reforms of 1991, growing by over 10 percent. On the other hand, no other sector has had a productivity growth of above five percent during the same period. It is no wonder that it has also been one of the fastest-growing sectors of the Indian economy, growing at over seven percent in the last decade itself.

Also Read: Social Media in India: Understanding The Dynamics of ‘Facebook’ and ‘Twitter’

Such an unprecedented pace of growth has been brought about the precise levels of change that Kurzweil was so enthusiastic about. Today’s smartphones have the power of computers that took an entire room in the 1990s, and the telecom sector has had to keep up with a provision of commensurate internet speeds and services. Meanwhile, India has managed to provide the cheapest telephony services around the world, which has hit rock bottom after the entry of Reliance Jio. This has ensured access to those even at the bottom of the pyramid.

A rise in internet penetration has distinct positive effects on economic growth of a country.
A rise in internet penetration has distinct positive effects on economic growth of a country. Wikimedia Commons

Even though consumers have come to be accustomed to fast-paced changes within the telecom sector, the entry of Jio altered the face of the industry like never before by changing the very basis of competition. Data became the focal point of competition for an industry that derived over 75 percent of its revenue from voice. It was quite obvious that there would be immediate economic effects due to it. Now that we’re nearing a year of Jio’s paid operations, during which time it has even become profitable, we saw it fit to quantify its socio-economic impact on the country. Three broad takeaways need to be highlighted.

Also Read: Quoting WhatsApp message renders ‘delete’ feature ineffective

First, the most evident effect has been the rise in affordability of calling and data services. Voice services have become practically costless while data prices have dropped from an average of Rs 152 per GB to lower than Rs 10 per GB. Such a drastic reduction in data prices has not only brought the internet within the reach of a larger proportion of the Indian population but has also allowed newer segments of society to use and experience it for the first time. Since the monthly saving of an average internet user came out to be Rs 142 per month (taking a conservative estimate that the consumer is still using 1 GB of data each month) and there are about 350 million mobile internet users in the country (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India data), the yearly financial savings for the entire country comes out to be Rs 60,000 crore.

To put things in perspective, this amount is more than four times the entire GDP of Bhutan. Therefore, mere savings by the consumer on data has been at astonishing proportions.

Today's smartphones have the power of computers that took an entire room in the 1990s, and the telecom sector has had to keep up with a provision of commensurate internet speeds and services. Wikimedia Commons
Today’s smartphones have the power of computers that took an entire room in the 1990s, and the telecom sector has had to keep up with a provision of commensurate internet speeds and services. Wikimedia Commons

Now, this data has been used for services that have brought to life a thriving app economy within the country. So, the second level of impact has been in the redressal of a variety of consumer needs — ranging from education, health and entertainment to banking. For instance, students in remote areas can now access online courseware and small businesses can access newer markets. Information asymmetry has been considerably reduced.

Third, a rise in internet penetration has distinct positive effects on economic growth of a country. These effects arise not merely from the creation of an internet economy, but also due to the synergy effects it generates. Information becomes more accessible and communication a lot easier. Businesses find it easier to operate and access consumers. Labour working in cities has to make less frequent trips home and becomes more productive as a result. Education and health services become available in inaccessible locations. Multiple avenues open up for knowledge and skill enhancement.

Also Read: Facebook to ‘Signal’ news gathering for journos

An econometric analysis for the Indian economy showed that the 15 percent increase in internet penetration due to Jio and the spill-over effects it creates will raise the per capita levels of the country’s GDP by 5.85 percent, provided all else remains constant.

Thus, India’s telecom sector will continue to drive the economy forward, at least in the short run, and hopefully catapult India into 20,000 years of progress within this century, as Kurzweil postulated. The best approach for the state would be to ensure the environment of unfettered competition within the industry. Maybe other sectors of the economy ought to take a leaf out of the telecom growth story. The Indian banking sector comes to mind. However, that is a topic for another day. (IANS)

(Amit Kapoor is Chair, Institute for Competitiveness, India. He can be contacted at Amit. Kapoor@competitiveness.in and tweets @kautiliya. Chirag Yadav, a senior researcher at the institute, has contributed to the article.)