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India embraces open-source software to boost tech industry amid layoffs

Even as globally, layoffs dominate the spectrum in the Information Technology industry, the Indian government is pushing for the adoption of open-source software (OOS). OOS is expected to become a $350-400 billion business by 2025 and helps to cut costs, improve security, and enhance the reliability of business software. The government’s Information Technology bill requires government agencies to prioritise open-source software (OSS) solutions in procurement and increase the security and reliability of business software.

The IT bill, introduced in the Indian parliament in late 2022, seeks to promote the use of open-source software in all aspects of government and business. The bill requires government agencies to prefer open-source software solutions in procurement and encourages using open standards for data exchange. India is one of the top five global economies, which naturally provides opportunities for OSS.

As per the Indian Government’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY)’s 2021 policy titled “Adoption of Open-Source Software for Government of India”, organisations worldwide have adopted innovative alternative solutions to optimise costs by exploring avenues of OSS.

Industries and organisations big and small have now started to understand the reliability of open-source platforms to fulfil most of their business needs. Companies such as SUSE, headquartered in Germany but are now investing heavily in bringing new technologies and solutions to businesses in India.

Manu Dhir, General Manager of SUSE India, emphasises the need for India to promote an open-source economy by incentivising developers and organisations to develop a sustainable, home-grown OSS innovation. He told WION, “India must now promote an open-source economy by rolling out incentives for developers and organisations to develop an open-source software ecosystem. The incentivization to the developers will also aid the government’s flagship Digital India programme and help India become a major tech-oriented economy in the world.”

Many other Indian businesses are beginning to adopt open-source solutions. One of the cases of the use has been Indian banks that have been successfully using OSS for their core banking systems for several years, which has helped banks reduce their IT costs and improve security and reliability. Another case of a government authority using OSS is of Kerala Police- the state’s law enforcement agency, which incorporated SUSE’s solutions as a base for all its software requirements.  

Even as many Indians in the IT sector have been laid off by global giants like Amazon, Meta, and Accenture due to apparent over-hiring during the pandemic, OOS can be another option or many would say, a lifesaver. According to a news report, global IT giants fired 38,000 employees in March 2023, including many Indians. But companies like SUSE intend to continue hiring in India to fuel its growth and innovation as a global open-source innovator. “We intend to continue hiring in India to fuel our growth and innovation, i.e. we did not over-hire during the pandemic,” said Manu Dhir. 

Last year the company opened its ‘Centre of Excellence’ in Bengaluru, India to leverage Indian talent. “Our CoE incorporates all functions at SUSE and significantly focuses on Engineering and Technical Support. We intend to continue hiring in India to fuel our growth and innovation,” explained Manu Dhir. Clearly, India’s bet on open-source software could be the answer to boosting its tech industry amid layoffs by global giants.

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