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Software exports grow 28% in nine months

Mumbai, Feb. 11: Indian IT software and services exports were up 28 per cent at Rs 34,000 crore ($ 6.9 billion) during April-December 2002 compared with Rs 26,600 crore ($ 5.6 billion) in the same period last fiscal, according to a survey conducted by the National Association for Software and Services Companies (Nasscom).

Despite a slowdown in IT spending globally, the aggressive foray by the Indian vendors for large offshore contracts helped post 20 per cent growth in IT services (ITS), 61 per cent in IT-enabled services (ITES) and business process outsourcing (BPO) segment, Nasscom chairman Arun Kumar told newspersons here today. The ITS exports stood at Rs 25,800 crore, while the ITES segment chipped in Rs 8,200 crore.

Though growth during the period has met initial estimates, it is difficult to say at this point of time whether this will be maintained in the fourth quarter, he added.

Finance segment continues to be the biggest vertical with a share of 36 per cent of software and service exports. Apart from growth in traditional services, new verticals such as healthcare, retail and utilities in the IT services sector will lead future growth in exports, he said.

Nasscom president Kiran Karnik said the industry had to face twin challenges — war fears in the first quarter and appreciation of rupee against the international currencies. “The rupee has always depreciated. This year for the past two quarters, it has appreciated. The impact could be in the region of 2 per cent. However, it is too early to talk about the outlook for 2004,” he added.

The recent appreciation in the value of rupee is set to pose a “challenge” of 2-3 per cent even as developments in Iraq is unlikely to have much impact on the software and service revenues from the country, according to the Nasscom survey.

Nasscom vice-chairman Som Mittal said exports in current fiscal were expected to grow by 28 to 30 per cent, and hoped that the fourth quarter performance would balance the impact of the rupee appreciation.

As regards IT enabled services, Nasscom said that apart from customer care, finance and HR, there is a growing traction in engineering, R&D and design.

Kumar said North America continued to be the prime destination for ITS, ITES and BPO, followed by Europe, Japan, Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) and the rest of the world. It is estimated that during this year while the share of North America is likely to marginally rise to 67.7 per cent, that of Europe is predicted to fall to 21.2 per cent from 23.7 per cent.

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