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US should be more worried about protectionism than India, says Nasscom chief

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A leading lobby group for the country's IT industry on Tuesday said the United States should be more concerned about the ramifications of its protectionist measures as Indian talent is critical for innovation in the world's largest economy.

A leading lobby group for the country's IT industry on Tuesday said the United States should be more concerned about the ramifications of its protectionist measures as Indian talent is critical for innovation in the world's largest economy.
"US has more reason to worry about increasing political rhetoric than India," said Debjani Ghosh, president of The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM).
"It is clear that Indian talent is critical for innovation in US and until US addresses the skill gap, I'm not sure how US will turn off the tap on talent," Ghosh told CNBC-TV18 in an interview.
Her comments come after Washington said it is planning to “revise” the definition of employment and specialty occupations under the H-1B visas by January, a move which will have an adverse impact on Indian IT companies in the US.
The head of the IT industry body, however, dismissed any reason to worry about local software outsourcing firms as H-1B visa in-take by Indian companies has already fallen in the last two years.
"For Indian companies, H-1B visa in take has decreased by over 40 percent over the last 2 years. This means that we are currently less that 13 percent of the total 65,000 visas given," said Ghosh, who took over the Nasscom reins from R Chandrashekhar in April.
Just 3 years ago, Indian companies accounted for almost 40-50 percent of the total H-1B visas that were issued, but over the years, with increasing push of US jobs and noise around protectionism, Indian companies have increased local hiring in the US.
"Bulk of H-1B visas are currently going to international companies. Highest takers of the H-1B visas are the top deck companies in US," said Ghosh.
The H-1B visa, most sought-after among Indian IT professionals, is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.
India, earlier this month, said it was “closely engaged” with the Trump administration as well as the US Congress on the matter related to H-1B visas.
 
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