India Loses An Outsourcing Advocate - InformationWeek

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IT Leadership // IT Strategy
Commentary
12/19/2006
02:12 PM
Paul McDougall
Paul McDougall
Commentary
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India Loses An Outsourcing Advocate

I last spoke with Sunil Mehta in October. The outsourcing exec was excited about new laws to prevent offshore data theft. He also was realistic: "The deterrent will come when we see convictions," Mehta said. That was the Mehta I knew through numerous interviews--a mix of enthusiasm and pragmatism. As such, he embodied the same values that drive India's outsourcing industry. Mehta, 41, passed away over the wee

I last spoke with Sunil Mehta in October. The outsourcing exec was excited about new laws to prevent offshore data theft. He also was realistic: "The deterrent will come when we see convictions," Mehta said. That was the Mehta I knew through numerous interviews--a mix of enthusiasm and pragmatism. As such, he embodied the same values that drive India's outsourcing industry. Mehta, 41, passed away over the weekend.As vice president of India's National Association of Software and Services Companies, Mehta, who died of heart failure, was a leading advocate for outsourcing. He thought it was a practice that benefited both Americans and Indians, consumers and businesses. "It is a two-way, mutually beneficial argument," he once said in an interview.

Mehta believed that businesses that saved money through outsourcing should invest those savings into new projects, creating new and better jobs. He was a big proponent of the 'win-win' interpretation of offshoring.

He also was dedicated to ensuring that outsourcing didn't put American consumers at risk, as he spearheaded a NASSCOM initiative to do background checks on industry workers. "This will take time to catch on, like anything else," Mehta told me during a phone chat in May. Again, enthusiasm tempered with pragmatism.

NASSCOM officials are in shock at Mehta's untimely death. "The entire industry expresses condolences to his family members and relatives," said a statement on the group's Web site. "In addition to strengthening India's leadership position globally, he played a key role in establishing India's credibility amidst the backlash against outsourcing," NASSCOM said.

A PR man I know in the business summed up the general feeling about him well, calling Mehta "a fine chap, and a strong advocate for the industry."

Traditional Indian prayer meetings are being held for Mehta this week in New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore. Around here at InformationWeek, especially on this beat, we'll miss his enthusiasm and candor.

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