Indian IT cos in US paid $15bn in taxes in last 5 yrs

Washington: The Indian IT industry in the US has contributed USD 15 billion in taxes alone in the last five years, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said, stressing on the need to eliminate discriminatory actions.

Mathai, on his first bilateral visit to the US in his capacity as the Foreign Secretary, expressed hope that the economic challenges in the US would not lead to protectionism and concerns of the Indian IT industry will be addressed.

He is believed to have raised the issue in his meeting with the officials of Commerce Department on Monday. "We do hope the current economic challenges in the US would not lead to protectionism and that concerns of Indian IT industry will be addressed quickly," Mathai said in his address to the Centre for Strategic and International Studies.

NASSCOM estimates that Indian industry employs over 100,000 in the US up from 20,000 six years ago, he said adding it supports 200,000 other jobs, including indirect ones, apart from enhancing the competitiveness of some the US industries.

"Most Indian companies are setting up development centres. Indian IT industry contributed USD 15 billion in taxes over the last five years. This success story should not be set back by stringent visa regulations which act as a non-tariff barrier," he said.

"According to a back of envelope calculation ? Indians paid over USD 200 million in visa fees. Perhaps USD 30-50 million has been taken from young aspiring Indians working in businesses whose US visas were rejected. The pink slip has become a greenback!" Mathai said.

"It needs reiteration that the targets of these discriminatory actions are precisely those who have contributed intellectually to the climate of reform in India, and who have been votaries of strong India-US relations," said the Foreign Secretary.