In early 1991, when the fledging IT sector was still finding its feet, and seeking mentors and visionaries to set it on the path of the future, a young CA in New Delhi, a techie, a “graphics man,” saw what few could even comprehend at that point in time.
Dewang Mehta, a pioneering spirit, saw a world where the Indian ICT industry would play a key role. He envisioned a scenario where India would find a place on the global map on the strength of its technology talent and skilled IT manpower.
Along with other thought leaders, Dewang Mehta laid the foundation for what became India’s most powerful growth engine—the country’s IT-BPO sector.
During his tenure as President, NASSCOM, spearheaded initiatives that helped in the following ways:
Spurred the growth of India’s software and services exports, driving the industry to become a significant contributor to the country’s GDP.
Made innovation a key goal for the IT-BPO sector, helping build an eco-system where creative solutions could be built and delivered.
Made NASSCOM a platform that could help companies expand their global frontiers, by providing them information and visibility across geographies.
Built the India Inc., brand by personally interfacing with global government functionaries and policy makers and demonstrating the industry’s capabilities in global exhibitions and conferences, he helped create visibility for the industry overseas.
Made a strong case for India’s IT expertise at key global fora and convinced global governments and leadership about India’s strong credentials as a premier and trusted software sourcing destination.
Championed the cause of small and medium sized players within the industry, enabling them to find a voice, gain recognition and concessions that would improve their global competitiveness.
Created government engagement, where industry and government worked to create policy frameworks and a regulatory environment that was conducive to the growth of the nascent IT-BPO industry.
Ushered in changes and rationalisation of tax and duty structures, created SEZs, and specific policies to promote the expansion and diversification of the industry.
Built the domestic market, and placed it on the agenda of NASSCOM’s member companies. His out-of-the box ideas for proliferating IT across India, inspired the central and state governments, who gradually placed IT on their agenda.
Improved Copyright protection in India. An IT law with more teeth was announced, to draw the world’s largest IT companies into the country. Novel campaigns, including “hot lines” were launched to catch the pirates and promote the use of legal software.
Reiterated the link between IT growth and India’s national development. Dewang Mehta’s legendary “Roti, Kapda, Makaan and Bandwidth” slogan, became a new success mantra for political leadership. His belief, that IT alone could bridge the urban-rural, gender and digital divides, drew the support of India’s Next Gen decision makers.
Positioned technology as India’s primary means of stepping into the 21st century.