Friday, December 5, 2008

Indian feels the heat of the financial meltdown

The NYT reports:

In a country where most marriages are arranged by parents, the downturn has even taken a toll on the matrimonial prospects of those in technology outsourcing. “Because there is no job guarantees for I.T. people, for the last six months brides’ families have not been accepting grooms from this background,” said Jagadeesh Angadi, a matchmaker in Bangalore.

The Indian National Association of Software and Service Companies estimates that the country’s technology sector will create 50,000 fewer jobs in 2008 than last year, although it predicts the sector will still have added 200,000 workers by year’s end. India’s technology outsourcing companies have laid off about 10,000 employees since September, according to the Union for Information Technology Enabled Services, a labor group that represents technology workers.

Meanwhile, India announced a stimulus package worth Rs 20, 000 crore.

The package, coming on the back of fresh monetary measures announced by the RBI on Saturday, includes a four per cent cut in ad-valoram duty across the board, to boost additional spending, besides enhanced credit for exporters, along with a Rs 10,000 crore mop up for India Infrastructure Finance Company.

The measures include additional plan expenditure up to Rs 20,000 crore in current year; total spending in four months till March expected at Rs 300,000 crore. A series of steps to boost exports; Rs 350 crore additional funds for export incentives; back-up guarantee to ECGC for up to Rs 350 crore; to be allowed refund of services in some areas.

The package also includes import duty on Naptha for use in power sector as well as export duty on iron ore to be eliminated. India Infrastructure Finance Company to raise Rs 10,000 crore through tax-free bonds by March 2009. PSU banks to soon announce package for borrowers of home loans upto Rs 20 lakh. An across-the-board cut on ad valorem rate to encourage additional spending; additional Rs 1,400 crore for textile sector.