UK gov’t minister in talks with Indian gov’t, IT firms

U.K. e-government minister Pat McFadden has flown to India for talks with its government and major IT firms.

McFadden’s four-day tour will include talks with outsourcing giant Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Indian IT industry body Nasscom. He will also meet India’s IT minister Shakeel Ahmad and social justice minister Meria Kumar.

Speaking ahead of his departure, McFadden linked the trip to the Transformational Government policy aimed at improving public services through IT, which also stresses the importance of shared services in the public sector. “This visit is very much about sharing the experience in both the U.K. and India of how technology can be used to improve service delivery and make life easier for citizens,” he said.

“Both the U.K. and India have significant expertise in IT and I’m sure a deeper dialogue on these issues can benefit both countries.”

McFadden emphasized that the internationalization of outsourcing meant investment by the Indian IT giants in the U.K., not merely the offshoring of IT work by U.K. companies.

“We have to get beyond the idea that globalization is a one way street where jobs are simply transferred from developed economies to rising new economic powers like India through outsourcing and off-shoring,” he said. “Globalization is a two way street, and there are now a growing number of Indian companies who are investing and creating jobs here in the U.K.”

The U.K. accounts for around 60% of India’s investment in Europe and more than 500 Indian firms now have operations in the U.K., with the IT sector a key area. TCS has more than 2,000 U.K.-based staff while rival Infosys has about 1,400 and HCL employs another 1,800.

McFadden’s tour will take in Hyderabad and New Delhi and will include a visit to the National Institute of Smart Governance, set up to boost the provision of online services to businesses and the public.

The minister will also drop in at the Centre for Good Governance, a public service improvement agency, and an “eSeva center” — an organization driving efforts to make IT accessible to all sectors of India’s population, including poorer people and those in isolated rural areas.

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