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INDIAN IT sector’s impressive compounded growth rate of 30% plus during the last three to four years had slumped to 20% due to global meltdown, according to Infosys co-chairman Nandan M Nilekani.

Delivering the Dr V K R V Rao Memorial Lecture on “India at the Crossroads: The choice before us,” to mark the Founders’ Day of Indian Institute of Socio-Economic Change, he felt the IT along with other industrial and sectors of economy were currently going through unprecedented crisis making it difficult to predict how long it would take for a turnaround.

IT sector which grew at a phenomenal pace from a mere $50 million in 1991 to over $40 billion at present was severely hampered by the economic downturn, which had also impacted the job buoyancy. “We can still come out of the slump because the need for technology and innovative solutions to tackle the complex problems has assumed greater importance and urgency,” he said advocating concerted efforts and greater investment on improving human capital.

The Padma Bhushan awardee, who had recently authored “Imagining India: Ideas for the New Century,” underscored the need for creating 270 million jobs by 2035 as part of a strategy to integrate the country’s economy with global economy. The country must strive to tackle the problems of illiteracy, unemployment, shortage of healthcare facilities and other basic human needs by adopting a multi-pronged strategy to harness the vast pool of youth power for accelerating economic development, he said. He emphasised the need for enhancing the investment in higher education and granting greater autonomy to institutions of higher learning devoted to scientific, technical and management studies.

While urging the ‘powers that be’ to make conscious efforts to check the misuse and leakages of scarce public resources on subsidies on food, power, agriculture and healthcare, he felt Indian subsidies had become regressive and not progressive as the poorer sections rarely got the benefits. There was a need to ensure greater devolution of powers and funds to grassroot level bodies so that the common masses were able to play an active role.

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