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 UK and India of how technology can be used to improve service delivery and make life easier for citizens,” he said.
“Both the UK and India have significant expertise in IT and I'm sure a deeper dialogue on these issues can benefit both countries.”
McFadden emphasised that the internationalisation of outsourcing meant investment by the Indian IT giants in the UK, not merely the offshoring of IT work by UK companies.
“We have to get beyond the idea that globalisation 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. “Globalisation is a two way street, and there are now a growing number of Indian companies who are investing and creating jobs here in the UK.”
The UK accounts for around 60% of India's investment in Europe and more than 500 Indian firms now have operations in the UK, with the IT sector a key area. TCS has more than 2,000 UK-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 centre” – an organisation driving efforts to make IT accessible to all sectors of India’s population, including poorer people and those in isolated rural areas.