India’s IT revolution.

India’s IT revolution.

First Computers and Advent of Internet in India:

The first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, is credited with founding and fostering important national institutions. India’s IT revolution The Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Mumbai and the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) in Kolkatta were institutions of national significance that marked India’s entry into the computational world.

While TIFR promoted nuclear programmes, ISI worked on statistical and planning tasks for important government initiatives including a “five-year plan.” To fulfil their purposes, each of these institutes need computational capacity. To solve mathematical equations, ISI created one of the earliest mechanical calculators and analogue computers.In 1956, it became the first company in the nation to acquire a computer. In contrast, TIFR acquired a CDC 3600 computer in 1964. IIT Kanpur subsequently acquired an IBM 1620 in 1965 and an IBM 7044 the following year.

Academics and researchers now have access to TIFR and IIT Kanpur’s computing resources. The first generation of programmers in India were trained at these institutions. After providing computers to IIT Kanpur, IBM aggressively increased its presence in the country. IBM had a complete monopoly from 1950 to 1977, when it decided to leave India in opposition to the newly enacted FERA and FEMA laws. Even though IBM was found guilty of a number of crimes, including selling outdated machines to India at excessive prices, the company did contribute to the development of India’s “computer culture” and the country’s first generation of programmers and engineers.

A network of computers was being constructed. In 1977, NCSDCT (National Centre for Software Development and Computing Techniques), a division of TIFR, connected computers at TIFR and VJIT Mumbai utilising Bombay Telephone lines to make the first Wide Area Network demonstration. Later, to connect the five IITs, IISc Bangalore, NCSDCT, and Department of Electronics (DoE), ERNET (Education and Research Network), modeled after ARPANET, was commissioned. Partners in ERNET will soon be able to dial up to the rest of the globe.

The Internet arrived in India in that manner in 1989. When Bangalore STP’s satellite link went active in 1993, it was a turning point (Software Technology Park). Now that a satellite connection was available, software companies in the park could conduct video conferences with their clients in other countries and send software to them.Now that a satellite connection was available, software companies in the park could conduct video conferences with their clients in other countries and send software to them. Two years later, VSNL introduced Internet services, and in 1998, the government approved the establishment of private ISPs, which caused the number of internet users in India to soar.

The availability of satellite exports attracted American companies like Texas Instruments (TI) and created a new entry point for the export of Indian software. According to the book authored by science journalist and author Dinesh C Sharma, only TI took off after receiving a licence to establish software units with satellite links together with two other companies.

It was claimed that Indira Gandhi, who assumed power in 1980, was responsible for a number of policy initiatives, including the liberalization of regulations for the computer and electronics industries, rural digital telephone exchanges, software technology parks, and the computerization of railways, all of which are associated with Rajiv’s era.

Government Policies:

The Department of Electronics (DoE) was established by the government in 1970 to oversee the electronics sector. Building domestic computers was one of DoE’s mandates, although it had very modest commercial success. Additionally, DoE implemented llicenseicence raj in the electronics sector. To import computers nowadays required DoE approval, which might take anywhere between 6 and 60 months! The government only liberalised unfavourable regulations and permitted the import of computers in opposition to the requirement to export software in 1981. Additionally, the government created C-DoT, which is now led by Sam Pitroda. Building digital exchanges for Indian telecommunications was part of the C-mandate. DoT’s The communication revolution in India was made possible by the creative all-weather rugged digital switches from C-DoT.Government policy was significantly liberalised and made easier to import hardware and software in 1986. The change in policy exposed Indian hardware companies. They were forced to collaborate with the global juggernauts.

To care for the machines that IBM left behind, DoE quickly established CMC (Computer Maintenance Corporations). CMC made the decision to write software and was awarded the contract to create the reservation system for Indian Railways. Trade unions now have a more favourable view of computers because to the successful deployment of the IR reservation system, which also served as a model for banks and Air India’s automation initiative. In a landmark decision, the government of India decided to create seven Software Technology Parks (STP) throughout the country in 1991. The goal was to expand India’s information technology sector by offering superior infrastructure and legal support to emerging businesses. STP was crucial to India’s success in the IT sector.

Private Sector

While the government was contributing, the private sector realized the potential in software and computing. In order to centralize data processing for multiple Tata firms, the Tatas founded TCS in 1968. With just three computers, TCS had its start. Delhi Cotton Mill (DCM) established a new line of business in 1971 to foray into developing industries like electronics. This new group’s key members were Arjun Malhotra and Shiv Nadar. The original plan was to develop calculators in partnership with the Japanese company Sony, but when the government disapproved, DCM opted to go it alone. In 1972, DCM created the first native calculator, which was the size of a briefcase. In 1975, DCM introduced the first microprocessor in India.

The main crew of DCM left together the next year to create HCL under Shiv Nadar’s direction. After forming a joint venture with Uttar Pradesh Electronics Corporation Limited, which provided the much-needed funding to launch the company, the corporation became known by the brand name HCL, or Hindustan Computers Limited. IBM had already left India by then. The TDC-312, TDC-316, Spectra Series, and HCL 8C from ECIL (a DoE firm) will be the most popular models in the upcoming years. In many ways, the HCL 8C, constructed in 1977, was India’s first modern computer. It included an 8-bit microprocessor and a Business BASIC-written OS. It included a 5.25-inch floppy disc and could keep track of calculations and data even if the computer had to be restarted due to a power outage.

HCL enjoyed success, but once import restrictions were loosened in 1984, a lot of businesses began manufacturing personal computers from imported kits. HCL and other domestic hardware manufacturers felt the pressure and were compelled to enter the software services market. HCL America, which had begun as a hardware business in the US in 1988, quickly changed into a services business. The work may be delivered to HCL’s office in India for “offsite” work, or it could be completed at the customer’s business location (referred to as “onsite” work). This is how Indian businesses learned about their outsourcing strategy!

In order to fill the void left by IBM’s departure, the leaders of the next generation at WIPRO, also known as Western India Palm Refined Oil Limited, started a company that manufactures minicomputers and microcomputers. Modular hardware was used in the construction of Wipro’s first computer, Wipro86, which was released in 1981. Leaders at Wipro thought of their company as a “little IBM,” and they had licensing agreements with SUN, IBM, and Intel.

Additionally, Wipro created application software, such as the spreadsheet tool Wipro 456, which is comparable to Lotus 1-2-3. However, similar to HCL, Wipro’s hardware industries suffered after the liberalization of imports. In terms of software products, it could not compete with multi-nations. Similar to HCL, Wipro entered the consulting industry and created the “Lab on Hire” idea to take advantage of the R&D talent it had gathered in India.

Without the tale of Infosys, the history of Indian IT would be incomplete. Narendra Patni, an MIT alumnus who later worked as a consultant for Forrester, first proposed the notion of outsourcing a low-end task like digitising court documents to India in 1972, which is where Infosys got its start. In order to digitise data on punch cards or magnetic tape, Patni formed Data Conversion Inc. (DCI). The DCI company expanded quickly, and it soon required its own computer to typeset directly on computers and store data on magnetic media.

In 1976, Narendra Patni established “Patni Computers System,” or PCS.Patni decided that their software required a specialised staff, so it hired N. R. Narayana Murthy, a M Tech from IIT Kanpur, to lead the group. Murthy hand-selected his core group of employees, including Gopalakrishnan, Narendra Nilekani, Shibulal, and K. Dinesh. Under Mr. Murthy’s capable direction, PCS began to win contracts for offshore software. In an almost exact replica of what transpired at DCM, Murthy and his lieutenants left PCS in 1980 to found Infosys.

In its early years, Infosys relied on “body shopping,” sending engineers to work on-site to complete projects. After obtaining a loan from the Karnataka State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation, it took Infosys over 4 years to purchase its first computer. Infosys employed 1000 people by 1990. With programs for bank automation, it entered the European market in 1991 and the local market in 1994.

What therefore went right for India so that she is now able to export IT services worth over $100 billion? In the 1990s, a number of variables seemed to combine to put India on the map of the IT industry. The license raj ended and India’s economy was liberalized in 1991. External factors like “the lack of skilled technical workers in the West, low labor costs in India, firm-level changes like quality certification, transfer of knowledge and capability through linkages with US and European firms, linkages with the Indian diaspora, and the emergence of opportunities such as Y2K” accelerated India’s growth in the international IT market.

A new trend and an increase in funding for Indian online startups have emerged in recent years. Internet businesses are still far from being profitable and are mostly focused on domestic consumers. One cannot, however, discount the potential of what the ecosystem of Indian IT talent, the network of startup founders and employees, and a future genius from a city in India could do to alter the course of the Indian IT & software business in the years to come. And when that occurs, it will be an excellent opportunity to review India’s IT history and make connections!

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