By Fakir Balaji, Bangalore,
January 21, 2009 (IANS)
Premji, chairman of IT major Wipro, is optimistic
about the revival of the Indian economy earlier
than the world economy, saying the country remained
largely insulated from the fallout of the financial
meltdown and recession in developed countries.
Premji, who declined to speak on the Satyam scam,
is also betting on the early revival of the domestic
economy because of higher kharif and rabi crop
production on account of good monsoons.
"I am little more optimistic
about the India situation. The reason is we have
not been ravaged by the financial crisis like
most of the developed world," Premji told
IANS here Wednesday, on the sidelines of a briefing
on the firm's third quarter results. "So
one can be hopeful of some revival in the Indian
economy much earlier than the revival we are going
to see in the global economy," he said.
In Premji's assessment, the
US will recover faster than Europe, as it faced
the crisis about six to nine months earlier. "I
am also optimistic about the new leadership (of
Barack Obama) in America in terms of lifting the
sentiment of the people. It is an important aspect
vis-à-vis the revival of its economy,"
With the revival of global
economy being prolonged, Wipro plans to focus
more on the Indian and Middle East markets during
this and next two-three quarters to sustain its
growth momentum. "We are extremely well-placed
in the Indian IT services market given our reach,
depth and brand. We had a very strong growth in
India in the third quarter. Our Middle East market
will continue to do well," Premji asserted.
He, however, admitted 2009
would be a tough year given the fragile global
economy, a brittle domestic security environment
and corporate governance coming under the scanner.
"Consumer confidence is down significantly
and leading indicators suggest that the bottom
is not in sight. This will impact every economic
activity leading to capital conservation and opex
(operational expenditure) reduction," Premji
He also projected lower dollar
guidance ($1.05 billion) this quarter from the
global IT services and products division than
that achieved in third quarter ($1.13 billion).
On the outlook for the next
fiscal, Premji said though IT budgets for the
year were likely to get finalised this quarter,
customers would decide quarter-by-quarter. "Our
customers are not looking for vendors, but for
business partners who know the priorities and
collaborate with them. Challenging times differentiate
great companies from good ones. This is an opportunity
that we want to take with both hands," Premji
But he hastened to add that
his company's partnership with customers was not
at the cost of investors. "Our focus on operational
efficiencies will ensure that our investors are
not short-charged in the short or long term."