Education reforms must to build talent faster: Murthy


Bangalore: India needs drastic reforms in the education sector to build a vast talent pool for driving the IT industry growth faster, Infosys Technologies Ltd chairman N.R. Narayana Murthy said Monday.

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“We require a reforms programme in the education sector similar to the economic reforms in the nineties that ushered in the liberalization era,” Murthy said at a conference on ‘India: Knowledge and Professional Services Hub to the World’, organised by All India Management Association (AIMA).

Asserting that the future of the Indian IT industry was bright as evident from its return to growth path after downturn last year, Murthy said a study by McKinsey estimated that the industry had the potential to generate about $300 billion by 2020 if it could grow at 20 percent annually or by 2027 growing at 10 percent per annum.

“The challenge to achieve the ambitious target will be our ability to produce a vast pool of talent. The industry will require an additional six-seven million engineers, which is difficult with the available education infrastructure. It’s time for reforms in the education sector,” Murthy told about 200 delegates at the day-long conference.

Noting that India was experiencing one of the highest growth in the world, Murthy said the infrastructure sector would face a huge shortage of engineers to build roads, power plants, factories, offices and houses due to constraints in scaling capacity for raising human capital.

“In addition to education reforms to churn out more engineers, lawyers, doctors, managers, etc., we need to enhance our basic infrastructure to increase productivity, efficiency and capacity,” Murthy pointed out.

Though the IT industry would have incremental opportunities from the state-run enterprises and e-governance in the domestic market and emerging markets, he said a host of divergent sectors such as healthcare, cloud computing and digital economy would enable companies to move the value chain and sustain the double digit growth.

“The industry requires global brand equity to enable a chief information officer of an overseas government place a $1 billion order with the Indian company. There should be enough visibility in the global market place to bid for long-term projects and attract local talent for leveraging our domain expertise,” Murthy said.

During the past decade, the industry witnessed a robust growth in traditional areas of application development, system integration, package implementation of SAP and Oracle, accounting for 60-70 percent of revenue generation, while new areas such as remote infrastructure management services, independent validation services, product life cycle development and engineering services have been chipping in the remaining 30 percent growth.

“If we have to succeed in the digital economy in face of stiff competition, we have to move up the value chain and step into new verticals such as healthcare, legal process outsourcing and knowledge processing services,” Murthy added.