Tom Barnes

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The IT industry has been portrayed as instrumental to India’s transition to a high-growth economy. But critics argue that it has delivered few benefits to the wider population. In this context, industry advocates have drawn attention to the direct and indirect impact of IT on output and employment. This article critically explores these claims by locating them in the conventional (neoliberal) narrative of India’s recent economic development. It finds that industry claims are exaggerated and that IT industry demand is often linked to the creation of employment in industries dominated by informal employment arrangements. The prevalence of informal employment highlights problems of low pay and poor or hazardous working conditions. The IT industry’s rise to prominence has traversed a deeply ingrained process of labour market informalisation. In exaggerating the employment-generating capacity of the IT industry, its supporters have largely ignored problems relating to the quality of employment.

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Journal Article

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