In the coming years, as the Indian economy opens to further foreign investment, Indian firms will thrive and grow into the Fortune 100 ranks. India will begin to command a seat at the table for all major global decisions including those around energy, security and finance. With a young and educated talent pool, India is beginning to drive both the production and consumption of the world’s goods and services. Indian technology companies have already risen in the services industry, and have grown to become sizable businesses. Companies such as Wipro and TCS are today bustling giants, and are continuing to gain traction, competing head-to-head with global powerhouses such as IBM and Accenture. By focusing on the needs of Indian consumers, companies such as Airtel, Tata Motors, and Reliance Petrochemicals are also quickly becoming global engineering forces in their fields.
Technology strength means creating products and services that the world desires. To achieve the next level of global leadership, Indian high tech firms must focus on innovation and differentiation. The $2,500 car is an example of this, but others are needed.
In becoming a technology superpower, India must invest in infrastructure. Evidenced by the state-of-the-art airports in major metropolitan areas, this is already happening. More is needed in areas such as roads and electricity.
The private and public sectors must also invest specifically in technology R&D. This includes actively approaching and making it easier for venture capitalists to do business. This approach has seen great success in Israel and China. India should also consider expanding the special economic zones (SEZs) and offering tax benefits for companies in industries such as software, wireless and mobile. In addition, both foreign and local companies must encourage innovation through initiatives such as employee innovation contests and corporate patent programs.
India can also provide more support for education. It is clear that in the race to technology leadership, it is critical to keep unemployment to a minimum, and this requires education. Indians comprise a large piece of the graduate count at the top 40 engineering schools across the world. What attracts these students to global universities are the facilities, as well as job opportunities after graduation. India’s booming economy is creating local jobs that make it more attractive to stay in India. India already has a head start in facilities with the IITs and several top educational institutions, but professors and scientists must have access to world class laboratories. The government and private sector can sponsor and develop these research laboratories.