e-gov on mind, Facebook, TCS, Wipro honchos meet minister

facebook_logoEyeing a share in the e-governance pie, corporate biggies from Facebook, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Wipro have met Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, IT czar and Wipro Chairman Azim Premji and TCS Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director N Chandrasekaran held separate meetings with the minister on July 3. They are also said to have discussed the future roadmap for technology in India and issues affecting the $118-billion Indian IT-BPO industry.

“We are committed to working closely with the government to bring benefits like connectivity to people. We want to work together in areas like e-governance and education to connect people and the world,” Sandberg said after her meeting.

Informing that the government has asked for a structured request on how both parties can engage in these areas, Prasad said, “PM is a great supporter of new media… We wish to work together closely as there is an enormous scope of expansion.”

Sources said Premji and Chandrasekaran met Prasad and discussed issues affecting the Indian IT sector.

“The discussions were around concerns of the major IT companies, including issues like visa, tax and security of employees,” they said.

These companies have been asked to prepare a note and also collectively approach the PM to convey their concerns, they added.

While Premji did not comment on the nature of the discussions, Chandrasekaran said the meeting was a ‘courtesy call’ to the new minister.

The US, which accounts for about 60 percent of India’s IT export revenue, has proposed higher visa fees and enhanced audit by US agencies under the US Immigration Bill.

While the Bill is yet to be passed by the US House of Representatives, industry members have been engaging with the government and their US counterparts to convey their concerns.

IT firms, especially TCS, Infosys and Wipro, the biggest three in India, rely heavily on visas to send employees overseas to service clients.