India's IT-ITES/BPO exports, as everyone "knows" is booming.
According to the statistics cited at the India Brand Equity Foundation (which quotes data from Reserve Bank of India (RBI), India's central bank, and IDC):
This is one industry that has been adding to India's exports by leaps-and-bounds - depending on the source, the figures range between 25%-to-50%/annum!!!
Which is an eminently (feel-)good news... till one does a reality check :-((
According to NASSCOM (National Association of Software and Service Companies), a significant %age of these exports are to USA - accounting for almost 2/3rd of the export revenues.
So do US statistics reflect this surge of Indian IT-ITES exports?
... Which is when one hits another reality!!!
According to a report by US Govt Accountabiity Office, entitled "US and India Data on Offshoring show Significant Differences" in BPT (Business, Professional and Technical" trade services, which - to the best of my knowledge - is the US term for the Indian IT-ITES exports):
"...data show that for 2003, the United States reported $420 million in unaffiliated imports of BPT services from India, while India reported approximately $8.7 billion in exports of affiliated and unaffiliated BPT services to the United States."
Obviously, $420mn-US imports is too a huge difference from $8.7bn-Indian exports to be a typographical error.
So what accounts for this this discrepancy?
Apparently, Indian way of counting the chicken is pretty different than their counterparts in US, e.g.,:
Just in case, one wonders why RBI does not put its foot down on this spurious "number game", here is an explanation - RBI's data is actually the NASSCOM data:
"RBI, which is India’s central bank, is responsible for reporting official Indian data on trade in services. However, RBI data on trade in services incorporate the data collected by India’s primary information technology association — the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM)... Thus, the data cited above for India come from NASSCOM."
To find similar examples of the Number Game, please see: