Why automation could be a threat to India’s growth

Source: BBC

By Edd Gent

Ravi is one of thousands of Indian IT workers who will lose their jobs this year, caught between a slump in India’s previously booming IT industry and new technology threatening to replace human workers.

Until last month he worked at Cognizant Technology Solutions – a firm headquartered in the US but with the bulk of its workforce in India. The company is under pressure to cut costs and is expected to shed between 6,000 and 10,000 ‘underperformers’ this year.

Market volatility and rising protectionism in countries like the USA, where much of India’s IT outsourcing work comes from, saw Cognizant’s revenue grow at its slowest pace in two decades last year, and its peers in the Indian IT industry are in the same boat.

Software can carry out routine IT support work and repetitive back office tasks – the very tasks global companies originally outsourced to India

But at the same time, rapidly improving automation technology is allowing software to carry out routine IT support work and repetitive back office tasks previously performed by humans – the very tasks global companies originally outsourced to India to take advantage of cheaper labour.

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