Accessing Venture Capital in India

A one-day conference organized by Shorenstein APARC brought together 110 distinguished participants from India, the United States, Israel, Taiwan, Europe, and Latin America. The program's objective was to inform and educate India's information technology policymakers and practitioners on India's enabling environment with respect to regulation, governance, access to capital, and technological capabilities. These are the proceedings of this conference, prepared by Dr. Rafiq Dossani.

In recent years, India has made good progress in the export of information technology software and services. Many other countries now look to it as a model. At the same time, India's concentration of low value-added services, the near-absence of technology development, and the total absence of hardware development suggest that IT exports are not fulfilling their potential, either in terms of innovative content or of possible sustainability. The Indian government has set aggressive targets for the high technology industry, including an annual export growth rate of 33 percent for the next decade, compared with 50 percent over the past five years. These goals will translate to substantial dollar increases in software and IT services exports: from $3 billion in 1998 to $50 billion in 2008. Can this ambitious figure be achieved? Or, perhaps, is it too low, given India's current growth trajectory?