The early IT industry was built on the on-shoring model where Indian software engineers were trained and deputed abroad based on their talent and merit. They returned to India with their mindsets broadened by their exposure to global cultures and global opportunities.

More importantly, they returned with wealth beyond what they could have dreamed of making in India at the time – a wealth tied to their merit, and a culture that rewarded talent. The income of Indian nationals started from a modest USD 48 million in 1997-98 and rose to USD 4738 million in 2018-19. A large part of such income (approx 52%) would be on account of Indians employed in IT sector outside India.

These software engineers had a direct impact on the Indian economy, spurring demand and consumption while also enabling the aspirations of their family members. Suddenly their two wheelers were replaced by cars, and slowly their families in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities began moving to Tier-1 cities and metros. The families that once relied on influence to secure government jobs for their children, realized they didn’t need to any more – that merit alone was enough.

These changes weren’t just affecting families in India’s urban context, but also helped millions of semi-urban, semi-rural and rural families move upwards in the socio-economic strata, creating a new middle class. When these software engineers saw their success being defined by their hard work, self-discipline, thrift, honesty, aspiration and ambition, they passed these values down to their children, cementing the bedrock of modern India’s middle class. Where young software engineers from the rising middle class are not fully equipped with the appropriate social skills they need to survive in the global workplace, training programmes at IT companies also help inculcate cultural styles and global orientations and dispositions.

NASSCOM too played a huge part in shaping this cultural revolution, by steering its member IT companies to adopt increasingly flat management structures that were more egalitarian, global and meritocratic. Over time these IT companies were a few of the first who adopted and tracked metrics of inclusivity, gender parity, as well as bridging the wage gap. Today close to 50% of employees in the IT sector, are women.

The success of these IT companies further democratized wealth when they were listed, allowing this new middle class to ride its wave of success through shares and stocks. The market cap contribution of Top 10 IT and service companies in India was INR 3444028.96 crores (USD 471.78 billion / USD 0.47 trillion). These Top 10 IT companies represent 21% of the market cap. Via exchanges this wealth is shared among promoters, shareholders and the public at large.

NASSCOM’s push for the internet being available to all eventually paid off when modems and broadband started becoming commonplace in Indian homes. Today India has the fifth lowest Internet data rates in the world, as per the latest Worldwide Mobile Data Pricing 2022 list. The internet has helped create vast inroads into different cultures both western and eastern, creating truly global citizens. Today, inspired by the internet’s reach, India's young global citizens have the freedom to make flourishing careers as influencers and content creators on foreign platforms like YouTube and Instagram, instead of becoming engineers or doctors.

The Indian software industry has also accelerated the adoption of digital technologies in India by providing digital identities to over one billion people in the country. This further enables the provision of services across industries such as banking, healthcare, and education in an efficient manner. Citizen services that were prone to corruption now happen digitally, such as property registration, paying property taxes, and obtaining various certificates from the government, reducing the overall scope of corruption.

In the light of all the above, it is safe to say that while IT has undoubtedly changed India's global perception as an underdeveloped country, it has significantly transformed & uplifted the lives of the Indian people. More so, it has transformed India socially, culturally and the effects of this social and cultural transformation is just beginning to show.


‘Indian IT Sector’s Contribution’ by Prof. Tulsi Jayakumar of SPJIMR, Professor of Finance & Economics & the Executive Director of the Centre for Family Business and Entrepreneurship and Chairperson – PGPFMB.

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