The Infosys debacle shows the extreme shallowness of Indian IT companies

Income Tax, Infosys, tweet, nirmala

(PC: Zee News)

On Sunday afternoon, an unexpected tweet by the Income Tax Department attracted a lot of national attention and sent the multinational IT giant Infosys into a fit of panic. Infosys, which has earned quite a name globally and caters to some notable clients, did not expect to be nailed by the Government of India so openly. 

In its tweet, the IT Department announced that Infosys’ Managing Director (MD) and CEO, Sunil Parikh has been summoned “to explain to the Finance Minister as to why even after 2.5 months since the launch of new e-filing portal, glitches in the portal have not been resolved.” 

The portal – had a bumpy start since its opening on June 7 as taxpayers, tax professionals and other stakeholders reported glitches in its functioning. The portal has been developed by Infosys, and one would expect the famed company’s products to have no issues whatsoever. However, major glitches in the portal led to annoying taxpayers venting out their anger against the dysfunctional product developed by Infosys. 

And this gives us a chance for a major introspection over our 200 billion dollars IT industry. Despite being a powerhouse in the consumer-based IT sector, India has very few competent product players. 

For example, Microsoft Office is a popular software for the working-professionals – India has not been able to develop a productivity software (the only exception is Zoho) that is used by end-users. Similarly, the mobile phones either run on Android (Google) or iOS (Apple) operating system – India has not been able to develop an operating system despite having such a large software workforce. 

Moreover, we have not been able to develop Indian language translators (for example – Odia to Bengali), any major programming language, any laptop company, any credible mobile phone company, and so on. The major reason being the fact that our IT companies spend very little on R&D.

Among the top 10 companies by R&D spending, 7 are in Information and Communication Technology sector, but not a single of them is an Indian company despite having such a large IT sector. There is not a single Indian company in the top 50 amongst the highest R&D spending companies. Due to global organisations’ frivolous approach towards research and development, none of the Indian companies can develop any path-breaking product. 

The second reason is our education that whips the talented students right from the start of school to the day when they are forced into an engineering college to ensure that they get a ‘respectable’ job – which they would never like.

Read More: Engineering colleges with horrible Infra and terrible education have continued to flourish. Well! Not anymore

The basic problem with our education system is that intellect is determined by mugging up content and replicating the same instead of thinking of new ideas. What our education system should eliminate is ignorance, doubt, inferiority complex, and fear. But what they destroy is curiosity and individual worth. They are not the makers of tomorrow’s generation but the assembly line for producing trivia replicating robots. 

There is no scope for the children to learn anything that can nurture their minds, develop creativity, inculcate curiosity to go beyond the usual, and test the limits of whatever has been taught. The student is told again and again to “stick to the syllabus” and not to “use his head too much” as, after all, it’s the exams that matter the most. Has anyone cared to ask what happens to all these toppers in board exams? 

How many of them become the demigods and saviours that this marks list obsessed society expects them to be? Has anyone cared to notice as to why an overwhelming number of people who make it big, wasn’t exactly teacher’s pets? As the popular saying goes, the kids on the front row get to answer all the teacher’s questions because the backbenchers have more pressing issues to attend to.

So, unless we fix our education system and ensure that Indian companies spend well on research and development instead of just increasing headcount, the incidents like the tax portal issue will keep happening, and the Indian consumers would keep using foreign Information and Communication technology products. 

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