Do we need to be ‘vocal for local’ in tech?

Mar 17, 2022

India exports more software than Saudi Arabia exports oil, in value terms, which is a matter of discussion and pride for most Indians. As per RBI data, India’s exports of software services are estimated at US$ 133.7 billion during 2020-21. Computer services and ITES contributed 65.3 percent and 34.7 percent, respectively. Compared to that Saudi Arabia exported oil worth US$ 113.7 billion in 2020!

However, despite India being a software powerhouse, Indian businesses and companies mostly use business software applications (including mobile business apps) developed by multinationals.

In 2020, India banned 54 mobile applications, primarily from China, over concerns of data security. These foreign apps allegedly collected information that would allow data to be mined, collated, and profiled, potentially by “elements hostile to the sovereignty and integrity of India and for activities detrimental to national security”. The Government of India started encouraging domestic apps and technologies under the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ and ‘Digital India’ initiatives.

Here are some key reasons for us to go ‘vocal for local’ and incentivize and focus on the use of business applications developed by Indian brands.

Boosting the Indian Economy with use of India-developed Business Software Applications

Encouraging Indians to use locally developed business software applications will have a significant impact on our software industry and the broader economy. Today, India imports over 10 billion USD worth of software products every year. In addition to that, the country loses billions of dollars in tax revenues as global digital tech giants don’t pay any taxes as they are only digitally and not physically present in the country. Our preference for locally developed applications will help address these challenges.

More importantly, it will lay the foundation for India to emerge as a global business software applications hub – imagine the boost this will give to the Indian economy. Just consider this – in its current form, with software services as the main exports, the software industry generates around 14 million direct and indirect jobs. It is estimated that the software industry can contribute up to 350 billion USD accounting for ~10 percent of India’s GDP by 2025. If we encourage the use of local business applications, it will help create an industry that can make a similarly significant contribution to the Indian economy over the years.

Taking care of data security and privacy issues

The big tech-dominated world of business applications has largely remained unregulated. This has led to major concerns around data protection and privacy. There have been multiple instances of misuse of personal data and violation of privacy by many global companies in the recent past. In this context, India must develop its ecosystem of applications and software products companies that are sensitive to the local regulations and concerns related to data privacy and protection.

Moreover, there is an enormous amount of data flow from the country as most global companies have their data stored in data centers outside India. The global companies capitalize on this data to further their own business goals without any benefit for India. If we encourage the use of home-grown applications, it can stimulate a significant amount of data-driven economic activity creating millions of new jobs in India.

Fuelling the Rise of Indian Software Application and Product Companies

Today, there aren’t any successful global scale Indian business software product or application companies. However, we are beginning to move in the right direction – we have already seen many successful SAAS (Software as a Service) business applications providers emerge in India during the past few years. Currently, there are over 2000 software product companies and 1000 SaaS companies in India. We need to continue adding momentum to this by encouraging the use of India-made business applications.

India has everything that is needed to turn it into a global hub of business software applications – we have one of the largest pools of technical/digital talent in the world, a massive focus on innovation, IP creation and R&D, a fast-growing economy with increasing demand for business enabling software products and a conducive business environment for start-ups. It’s time we put the same Indian energy and ingenuity that helped us build the country into a global software powerhouse into making India a hub of business software products and applications.

CardByte firmly believes that India can develop the best applications to serve India and the world. We are proudly made in India and are focusing on providing the best-in-class user experience and technology through our products.