High labour attrition, poor infrastructure and lack of data protection laws could derail India's booming outsourcing industry, the CEO of Indian software giant Infosys Technologies said yesterday. \nNandan Nilekani, chief executive officer of Infosys Technologies, India's second-biggest software exporter, said business process outsourcing (BPO) was based on reputation and urged the industry to deliver quality work. \n"Every year, about 70,000 jobs are added and the main challenge is how to attract people," he told delegates at a conference held by National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM), India's leading information technology body, in the southern city of Bangalore. \n"The challenge is also how to retain the pool. It's a collective challenge. We require a holistic approach to expand the pool and train people. The question here is how to retain the manpower to deliver quality and value." \nAnalysts say outsourcing labour attrition rates vary between 20 and 40 percent in some companies while at top firms it averages at least 15 percent. \nNASSCOM said in a recent report the outsourcing industry was expected to face a shortage of 262,000 professionals by 2012. \nThe looming shortage, even in the short-term, poses a significant challenge for the nascent industry where foreign firms have outsourced jobs ranging from payroll processing to air ticketing, it said. \n"We're in a situation where customer expectations are going up and we have to invest in people to make this industry successful," Nilekani said. \nNoshir Kaka, Partner, Mackinsey and Company Inc, said the Indian outsourcing industry faced a tough challenge in attracting quality manpower and a "public-private partnership" was the only solution. \n"India churns out two million graduates [annually] and only 5 percent of them are employable by the call center industry. Of the rest, 15 to 20 percent are trainable and recruitable and 80 percent are not even trainable. \n"This industry is going to run out of steam if that 15 percent to 20 percent trainable people is not unlocked soon, at the latest by 2007," he said. \nNilekani, whose firm has an outsourcing arm in India's high-tech hub of Bangalore employing over 1,500 people, said the industry also needed to create an atmosphere in which foreign firms were confident privacy would be respected. \n"For mission-critical applications there's a need for data privacy and intellectual protection laws. It's a big thing ... companies internally have to adhere to this [privacy] and a legal framework must be in place," he said. \nArun Seth, managing director of British telecommunications firm BT Worldwide Ltd, said high wages were also eroding competitiveness of outsourcing firms. \n"Other countries are catching up and we can't be complacent. One has to look at areas such as telecommmunications, where presently costs are high and try to bring down costs to make up for high salaries," Seth said. \nThe flow of jobs into India from the US and Europe has led to an outcry from Western workers but analysts say the cost-savings from outsourcing still make it a good bet for foreign firms. \nOutsourcing contributed 29 percent to India's total software exports and posted revenue growth of 46 percent to US$3.6 billion in the fiscal year to March this year, according to NASSCOM. Revenues are forecast to grow about 40 percent in this financial year to US$5.1 billion.
A TAIWAN FIRST: The duo are the first badminton players from Taiwan to climb an Olympic podium, and Tai Tzu-ying has a shot at doing the same today Taiwanese badminton duo Lee Yang (李洋) and Wang Chi-lin (王齊麟) yesterday won the nation’s first Olympic gold medal in the sport when they prevailed over a third-seeded Chinese pair in the final of the men’s doubles at the Tokyo Olympics. Lee and Wang, both first-time Olympians, defeated Liu Yuchen (劉雨辰) and Li Junhui (李俊慧) 21-18, 21-12 in a 34-minute final at the Musashino Forest Sports Plaza. As of yesterday, Taiwan had bagged seven medals in Tokyo — two golds, two silvers and three bronzes — topping its previous best of five medals in 2000 and 2004. Taiwan moved to No. 17 in the
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SOAKED: Although rain in central and southern Taiwan is to ease today, chances of heavy or extremely heavy rain would be high in the morning, a CWB forecaster said Extreme torrential rain brought by a southwesterly jet stream yesterday wreaked havoc in central and southern Taiwan, causing flash floods and triggering mudflows and landslides in mountainous areas. By 5pm yesterday, the Central Weather Bureau’s observation station in Yuyoushan (御油山) in Kaohsiung’s Liouguei District (六龜) had registered accumulated rainfall of 726.5mm since 12am on Saturday, the highest among the bureau’s observation stations. It was followed by the observation station in Kaohsiung’s Maolin District (茂林), which recorded accumulated rainfall of 671.5mm over the period. Six of the 10 observation stations that recorded the highest accumulated rainfall yesterday were in Liouguei, bureau