The US is tightening its screws on Indian techies in that country which belies President Donald Trump’s big noise about this country being strong strategically and economically. Visa fees to the US have been doubled. A new law has been passed to penalise over 15% of Indian workers with H1B visas. India should pay the US back in its own coin. That does not mean only lobbying against US discrimination but also devising other instruments. It has always been strong in IT and should accelerate the pace of development in the sector emulating China. China has thrown out Google and Facebook and set up its own counterparts. If India also puts restrictions on US conglomerates, the Indian tech industry will get a boost. Thousands of jobs can be created indigenously which will eliminate the scare about American BPOs pulling out of India. Google and Facebook dominate India’s digital advertising industry and have 75% of the market. Google has now made a move to block ‘intrusive ads’ on Google Chrome and that is strange because India’s Sundar Pichai heads it.
It is proof enough of its intention to dictate terms to Indian content producers. India has long been in the thrall of US tech companies and should now go all out to promote national start-ups which can face global competition. Walls can be erected in India to fight walls in the US. New Delhi is naturally anxious to bring in foreign investment but only to escalate the growth of India’s manufacturing and service sector. Bonanzas through Amazon, Alibaba or Facebook will only stifle it. Indian techies can prove their mettle in Indian start-ups and thumb their noses at a hostile Silicon Valley. Narendra Modi’s emphasis on Start-Up India and Digital India should not be just tall talk. To compete with the US may be a tall order but there is no other option but to move on. It needs concerted efforts made by central and state leaders, bureaucrats, technocrats and academics to make a hundred Silicon Valleys bloom on Indian soil.