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Indian IT Sector Robust, Don't Fear Layoffs, says Ravi Shankar Prasad

NEW DELHI: Painting a positive, growth-oriented scenario for the IT sector in near future, Union Electronics and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Tuesday denied reports of large scale layoffs in the sector. He asserted that the Indian IT and related sector employment prospects were robust and positive.  
Describing such reports as "highly exaggerated and unfounded'', the Minister said that Indian IT companies currently serve two-thirds of the fortune 500 companies and have created 40 lakh direct jobs and 1.3 crore indirect jobs in India. Indian IT companies are present in 200 cities of 80 countries.  
He said that India's digital economy was growing at a rapid pace and was likely to touch the One Trillion Dollar (Rs. 600 lakh crore) mark in next five to seven years.  
Addressing a presser to highlight the achievements of his ministry in the past three years, Mr. Prasad said the projections by the industry body NASSCOM and other reputed independent organisations predicted that in 2017 itself IT sector would be adding 1.70 lakh new jobs. He said that NASSCOM has already publicly contradicted reports of large scale layoff. IT industry has added six lakh jobs in the last three years and boasts of a total employee based of 3.9 million. 
Mr. Prasad said that the Indian technology startup sector would offer growing employment prospects to Indian IT professionals. According to NASSCOM, last year Indian technology startups employed about one lakh IT professionals across more than 4,750 starups. 
The Minister said that Common Service Centres (CSC) have generated 10 lakh local level jobs by way of village level entrepreneurs. CSCs have employed nearly 34,000 women and the growth of CSC showed that their numbers have gone up from 83,000 in 2014 to 2.5 lakh upto March this year. 
To further promote the job creation, the IT and Electronics Ministry has come up with India BPO scheme with an aim to provide jobs to 1.45 lakh persons in small towns. He announced that the tendering process has been finalised and BPOs would soon be set up in towns like Imphal, Guwahati, Siliguri, Patna, Muzaffarpur, Samastipur, Ghazipur, Unnao and Amravati. 
The Minister said that 72 new mobile manufacturing units have been started in the last 30 months, creating one lakh direct and three lakh indirect jobs in the country. He said that all major brands, including Apple and Samsung, were manufacturing in India. 
Underlining three main achievements of Digital India, Mr. Prasad said that it has been transformational, created empowerment and established a new paradigm of development. ``This flagship programme of the Modi government is delivering affordable technology and creating inclusive India,'' he said. 
As the world's largest biometric based based digital identity, Aadhar coverage has gone up to 114 crore upto 2016-2017. The Minister said that Rs. 1.9 lakh crore has been transferred to beneficiaries till this month using Aadhar which has resulted in a total saving of Rs. 50,000 crore by removing fictitious beneficiaries. He assured that Aadhar data was totally safe and secure and protected a person's privacy.
On connecting village panchayats by optical fibre network, he said that 90,000 panchayats had been connected so far and the aim was to connect all 2.5 lakh panchayats. 
On concerns over cyber security and attacks like the recent ``ransomware'', Mr. Prasad said that a Cyber Security Coordination Centre would start functioning from this June and assured that constant upgrade of cyber security systems was being undertaken to protect the country's data and e-commerce at all levels. 
The Minister also announced setting up of Digital India Corporation (DIC) which would lead in realizing the vision, objects and goals of Digital India programme by devising strategies and monitoring implementation. 

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