Export of software and IT-enabled services is expected to touch $68 billion by the end of the current fiscal, up from $57 billion in 2010-11. However, in rupee terms, it has shown a 24 per cent decline due to slowdown in the U.S. and European markets. D. K. Sareen, Executive Director, Electronics and Computer Software Export Promotion Council (ESC), said the growth rate used to be 35-40 per cent in good years. Up to December-end, software exports stood at $50 billion. Hardware exports are expected to grow 10 per cent to reach $9.2 billion by March 2012. The overall likely IT sector earnings growth rate for the current fiscal is 22 per cent.

Speaking to media persons here on Monday, Mr. Sareen, however, presented an optimistic outlook for the next year on the ground that the global economy was showing signs of recovery. The optimism also stems from the change in the strategy to look beyond traditional U.S. and European markets and penetrate into the Japan, China, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East markets, he says.

Though Japan, a major contributor to electronic and manufacturing equipment, is the second largest single country market for software exporters, Indian software exports to Japan are only 3 per cent of its total exports. Japan with a manpower shortfall of three lakh offers a big opportunity, he adds.

While the U.S. normally accounts for a lion's share of Indian software exports at 62 per cent, its share had fallen to 56 per cent this year, as exports to other markets have improved with EU accounting for 22 per cent and Africa 4-5 per cent.

The ESC is also lobbying for tax benefits to SME units to boost their performance following withdrawal of STPI policy. At present, while the top 200 companies located in SEZs account for 80 per cent of total software exports, the share of 2,300 small units is a mere 20 per cent.

The share of products in IT exports is only 3 per cent but this could go up with end-to-end solutions planned for emerging markets, he says.

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The Commerce Ministry's secretApril 30, 2012