In August 2007, a leading engineering college in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala had invited applications from engineering graduates to a couple of vacancies of lecturers, offering a handsome package. But there were hardly any takers for the posts.
A year later, in 2008 October, the same college invited applications to two posts of guest lecturers in Computer Science. And, the response was unbelievable. Nearly 100 engineering graduates turned up for the selection.
This simple instance reflects the grim scenario in the IT sector in the state. The shake up in the US economy and the global recession that followed have its repercussions in God's on Country too.
Though the industry leaders kept on denying the reports of cost-cut measures by the IT companies in the state, they became mum as IBS Software Services based at the Thiruvananthapuram Technopark had given the pink slips to about two dozen IT professionals.
While IBS's version is that it was only a 'performance based termination', the expelled employees contradicts it claiming that those who had even won the company chairman's best performer awards had also found a place in the chop-off board.
"About forty per cent of the software export from Kerala is to the US and hence it's obvious that any minute fluctuations in the US market will have its direct impact on the state," says Thomas Mathew, an IT professional in the city.
"Termination is nothing new in the IT sector. About a year back, another leading firm in Technopark terminated a good number of software professionals. Since the IT sector was at its peak at that time, those professionals did not take much time to get a better placement," Mathews adds.
But in the present scenario, it's quite difficult to get a fresh placement as almost all companies had put a sealing on the recruitments, he says.
Besides causing serious social problems owing to overnight terminations, the slow down in the IT industry is also having its impact on the state's economy as the fund flow from abroad would come down.
The skyrocketing growth of the IT sector had in fact contributed to the over all development of the state. Real estate, construction and automobile industries had witnessed a massive growth in Kerala over the last few years, which could definitely be attributed to the hefty packages offered in the IT sector.
"With reports of IT slow down coming in, there is definitely an uncertainly in the construction sector also. The response to some of our new projects is not as impressive as what we received till a few months back," says a leading builder in Kochi.
Meanwhile, a haste intervention of the state government into the termination of IT professionals by IBS had irked the IT entrepreneurs.
Following reporters of over-night termination from IBS, the state Labour Minister deputed a team of officials of his department to look into the issue. This action had invited widespread criticism from the industry.
G.Vijayaraghavan, founder CEO of the Technopark had even termed the move as a suicidal one that would scare off the investors from the state.
This is not the sunset of the IT sector. Every steep will be followed by a slope. With a state-of-the-art manpower, the IT companies in Kerala could maintain its growth by shifting the focus to other parts of the world, say experts in the filed.