I was looking forward to the panel discussion today on “Export of IT and ITES – Opportunities & Challenges” organized by Computer Society of India & IEEE Chennai chapters at Hindustan Chamber of Commerce, Greams Road (Opp to Fruit shop on greams road), The panel listed prominent names in Industry and moderated by Mr.S.Mahalingam (Former CFO of TCS):
- Business Opportunities by Mr. K. Purushothaman, Regional Director,
NASSCOM – Tamil Nadu & Kerala
- Challenges & Issues by Mr. K. Senthil Nayagam, Senior Vice President,
Hexaware Technologies Limited
- Enabling Opportunities by by Mr. James Golsen, Principal Commercial
Officer, US Consulate, Chennai, Mr.Golsen couldn’t make it to the event due to an illness and was represented by another officer of the department
- Service Tax Aspects by Mr. K. Vaitheeswaran, Advocate & Tax Consultant
- Income Tax Aspects by Mr. S. Srikanth, Chartered Accountant, M/s. Karpagam & Co
Mr.Mahalingam in his introduction talked about how in 1980s the goal of $50 Million IT Exports from India was considered as a stretch goal, the industry today doing over 100 Billion US Dollars. Mr.Senthil Nayagam touched on the challenges faced today by the IT Industry including shortage of talent pool, attrition and competition from other Asian destinations including Vietnam, Philippines and China for the lower-end part of the business.
Mr.Srikanth echoed the sentiments of the audience when he talked about the challenges the industry faced with prevailing Income Tax policies of Government of India including the long delays prevailing in SEZ benefits that are rightfully due to the promoters and on the TDS (Withdrawal tax) interpretations by the department. Mr.Vaitheeswaran is a tax law expert who I have listened to in many previous occasions, I found him to be a speaker who could cut the chase even on the complex subject he talks on, today too he was in his form. He rightfully pointed out the fruitlessness of having the Appellate level in Income Tax for hearing cases when in reality they always refer the case to Tribunal. He elaborated on the less known facts in the Service Tax rules covering Exports, timely and useful.
Overall the event turned out to be a mixed bag for me with most of the panelists covering on the road travelled whereas I was looking forward to the road ahead. I got a chance to meet half-a-dozen industry acquaintances of mine after a long time. The dinner turned out to be a simple affair but enjoyable and I topped it with a juice mix at the near by Fruit shop in greams road.