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UK government needs IT aid from India

Karl Flinders

Indian IT firms will be the first representatives of Indian industry to meet a new parliamentary group focused on improving the UK's economic relations with India.

IT suppliers such as Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), HCL and Infosys will meet the new group onWednesday 11 February. Private sector and public sector IT projects as well as immigration the key discussion points.

The fact that IT firms have been selected for the first meeting is no surprise given they contribute a large proportion of Indian investment in the UK. TCS and HCL employ 5,000 and 2,000 people in the UK respectively. The next meeting of the APPG will be with banking and financial services firms in India.

A spokesman for the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on UK-India trade and investment relations said the experiences of Indian IT firms are sought by the group. "With the economic downturn companies are trying to make cost savings and this is a way of seeing what role Indian IT companies can play in this. It will also look at how public sector procurement can be improved," he said.

TCS has digitised the equivalent of Companies House records across India, as well as health patient records on a computer database in the state of Andhra Pradesh,which has a larger population than the UK.

A total of 14 major UK government projects have failed to meet expectations. These includeprojectsat the Intelligence Services, GCHQ, the Passport Service, the National Health Service, the Rural Payments Agency, the Criminal Records Bureau, HM Revenue &Customs, the Department for Work and Pensions, Department of Health, the Department for Innovation Universities Skills, theMinistry of Defence and the Prison Service.

Trade Minister Gareth Thomas will be at the first meeting, along withformer cabinet ministers Patricia Hewitt and Charles Clarke.

"There is a unique bond between the UK and India which gives the success of our business relationship a huge head start. But nothing is guaranteed, which is why this group is so important," said Amur S. Lakshminarayanan,UK head ofTCS.


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