Nasscom expresses disappointment over re-emergence of outsourcing politics

Nasscom, India’s national association of IT and BPO companies, has expressed worry over what it sees efforts to tap anti-outsourcing sentiment ahead of the US Presidential election next year.

Nasscom’s comments came in the context of a bill in the US House of Representatives that seeks to make it mandatory for call centre employees to identify their location to the caller and give the caller an option to have his call answered by a US-based employee.

The bill has come months after the US adopted a law that raises money for protecting its southern border from outsourcing companies via a higher visa fee.

“US lawmakers seem to have developed the practice of unfairly taxing companies working overseas, to pay for domestic issues. In case this bill is passed, not only will it see objection from India but Latin America, Ireland, Philippines and Canada. Operating on a global sourcing model, builds efficiencies, benefits of which gets passed to the common citizen. Laws such as these will increase the cost of service and will see a rejection from common citizens,” Nasscom said.

American companies typically employ workers in countries like the Philippines and India to keep their products cheap. Wages in offshore locations are a fraction of those prevailing in the US market.

The new US Call Centre and Consumer Protection Bill by Rep Tun Bishop and Rep David McKinley tabled in the House of Representatives is seeking to make all US call-centres moving jobs overseas, ineligible for all federal grants or loans for the next five years.

The bill will also penalize US call centres with a penalty of $10,000 per day, for failing to report relocation to an offshore location, within 60 days to the US Department of Labor.

“According to this bill, call center operators who answer calls will need to identify their location and the caller will have a choice of choosing a US based operator,” Nasscom said.

“The possibility for the bill to become a law is very low. But it indicates the mindset of a certain set of policymakers and could set the tone for the next year, especially it being an election year,” it pointed out.