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We want to go after more large deals: Wipro CEO

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BENGALURU: Thierry Delaporte joined Wipro as CEO in July last year from Capgemini. Since then, he has undertaken a major organisational revamp, created a new operating model that put the focus on geographies instead of industry verticals, and empowered P&L owners more.
The company share price has risen 103% since he came. Delaporte spoke with TOI after the company’s third quarter results. Excerpts:
You got a good set of numbers in Q3, even as you implemented one of the largest transformations that Wipro has seen in recent years.
After having joined Wipro, I spent a lot of time defining where the priorities were, understanding what our strengths and weaknesses are, and building a strategy in terms of who we want to be.
In October, we articulated the priorities for Wipro in terms of ambition for growth, attention to customers, definition of markets of priority, offerings and solutions where we want to take leadership position in the market, investment in talent, and the need to simplify tremendously our operating model.
We have moved into execution – Q3 was a quarter where we had to perform while transforming – in terms of growth, profitability. I want to go after more large deals. I don’t think there is a magic formula, but a lot of intensity and discipline and spirit of One Wipro and everybody aligning around the same metrics and key priorities.
Execution is key and you’ve formed a large deals team. What else is different?
At Wipro for many years, the sales performance was tracked on a quarterly basis. We have moved into a monthly cadence. That has tripled the speed, and we have seen an immediate positive impact of this measure. We have made changes to the account teams that are managing large accounts and we have equipped them with more power.
Some of our competitors have gone after large deals and for some reason Wipro hasn’t closed large deals for some years. It’s simply that we were not organised to go after large deals. We have structured a big deals team that is working with different market needs. It requires a different approach in finance modelling, commercial expertise and technical capabilities.
We have put in place a process to review the pipeline of large deals every single week. Every week, my executive committee spends one hour going through deals that are in play and that are material. Only growth matters and employees have a reaffirmed ambition to grow and put Wipro back to where it belongs.
Do you think Continental Europe could soon emerge as a mega deal hub?
I believe there is a momentum in Europe despite the pandemic. There is an acceleration of large transformation programmes as many firms have realised through the crisis, the power of tech. In some sectors, there is a certain level of resistance to the idea of public cloud. It was based on the perception that the public cloud is insecure.
In the last weeks and months, the anxiety around the concept of public cloud has disappeared for the most part. We will see many more large deals in the coming quarters.
You have made major changes to the senior leadership team that has taken the street by surprise. Do you see more changes in the offing?
I think we are on a journey. We have made changes in terms of people – it’s all about talent, but it’s the result of the simplification of our organisation.
The needs for talent has changed from less operators and less generalists to deep content and domain specialists and technology experts. We are also bringing talent from the outside. We want to be a true global player.

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IMF projects impressive 11.5% growth rate for India in 2021

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WASHINGTON: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday projected an impressive 11.5 per cent growth rate for India in 2021, making the country the only major economy of the world to register a double-digit growth this year amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
IMF’s growth projections for India in its latest World Economic Outlook Update released on Tuesday reflected a strong rebound in the economy, which is estimated to have contracted by 8 per cent in 2020 due to the pandemic.
In its latest update, the IMF projected a 11.5 per cent growth rate for India in 2021. This makes India the only major economy of the world to register a double-digit growth in 2021, it said.
China is next with 8.1 per cent growth in 2021 followed by Spain (5.9 per cent) and France (5.5 per cent).
Revising its figures, the IMF said that in 2020, the Indian economy is estimated to have contracted by 8 per cent. China is the only major country which registered a positive growth rate of 2.3 per cent in 2020.
India’s economy, the IMF said, is projected to grow by 6.8 per cent in 2022 and that of China by 5.6 per cent.
With the latest projections, India regains the tag of the fastest developing economies of the world.
Early this month, IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva had said that India “actually has taken very decisive action, very decisive steps to deal with the pandemic and to deal with the economic consequences of it”.
India, she said, went for a very dramatic lockdown for a country of this size of population with people clustered so closely together. And then India moved to more targeted restrictions and lockdowns.
“What we see is that transition, combined with policy support, seems to have worked well. Why? Because if you look at mobility indicators, we are almost where we were before Covid in India, meaning that economic activities have been revitalized quite significantly,” the IMF chief said.
Commending the steps being taken by the Indian government on the monetary policy and the fiscal policy side, she said it is actually slightly above the average for emerging markets.
“Emerging markets on average have provided six per cent of GDP. In India this is slightly above that. Good for India is that there is still space to do more,” she said, adding that she is impressed by the appetite for structural reforms that India is retaining.
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Budget 2021: 'Centre may double health spending next fiscal year'

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NEW DELHI: India is likely to double health spending in the next fiscal year with the aim of raising expenditure in the sector to 4% of gross domestic output in the coming four years, two officials said, as the country looks to fix its health system after the coronavirus pandemic.
India will likely raise its health spending to Rs 1.2-1.3 lakh crore ($16.46-$17.83 billion) in the fiscal year starting April 1, from the current year’s projected spending of 626 billion rupees, the officials told Reuters.
Union Budget 2021-22: Complete coverage
The new healthcare plan is likely to be unveiled on February 1 when finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman presents the country’s budget for 2020/21. The officials did not want to be named as the plan is not yet public.
Even after decades of high growth, the country’s spending on healthcare has been a meagre 1.3% of GDP, way below BRICS peers and developed countries.
The strain of India’s underfunded healthcare system was put in stark relief during the pandemic, with states forced to set-up makeshift Covid care centres and many hospitals struggling to meet the demand for beds and oxygen cylinders.
India has recorded over 10.6 million coronavirus cases, the second-highest in the world after the United States.
Sitharaman is likely to unveil a four year health budget plan with the aim to move India’s healthcare spend to 4% of GDP, with the help of a dedicated health fund, the officials said.
The government could also increase a health tax from the current 1% of income and corporate tax to fund the new programme, one of the above officials said.
Currently it raises about Rs 15,000-16,000 crore annually from the health tax.
Finance ministry did not reply to an e-mail seeking comment on the story.
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US Prez signs exec order to tighten Buy American policies

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WASHINGTON: US President Joe Biden has signed an executive order that strengthens the existing Buy American rules by closing loopholes and reducing waivers granted on federal purchases of US-made goods to ensure that American manufacturing is part of the engine of the country’s prosperity.
Biden, who signed the executive order on Monday, six days after being sworn in, also ordered the creation of a new post at the White House.
He said the Director of Made in America at the White House Office of Management and Budget will oversee the all-of-government Made in America initiative.
“I don’t buy for one second that the vitality of the American manufacturing is a thing of the past. American manufacturing was the arsenal of democracy in World War II, and it must be part of the engine of American prosperity now. That means we are going to use taxpayers’ money to rebuild America. We’ll buy American products and support American jobs, union jobs,” Biden during an event at the White House event.
Biden said the federal government every year spends approximately $600 billion in government procurement to keep the country going safe and secure.
He said that there’s a law that’s been on the books for almost a century now: to make sure that taxpayers’ dollars for procurement is spent to support American jobs and American businesses.
Biden alleged that the previous administration didn’t take it seriously enough and the federal agencies waived the Buy American requirement without much pushback at all.
Big corporations and special interests have long fought for loopholes to redirect American taxpayers’ dollars to foreign companies where the products are being made. The result: tens of billions of American taxpayers’ dollars supporting foreign jobs and foreign industries, he said.
In 2018, he said, the Defence Department spent $3 billion on foreign construction contracts, leaving American steel and iron out in the cold.
“It spent nearly $300 million in foreign engines and on vehicles instead of buying American vehicles and engines from American companies, putting Americans to work,” he said as millions of Americans remained unemployed amidst the raging coronavirus pandemic.
The executive order signed on Monday aims to tighten the existing Buy American policies, and go further.
“We’re setting clear directives and clear explanations. We’re going to get to the core issue with a centralised, coordinated effort,” he said.
That starts with stopping federal agencies from waiving Buy American requirements with impunity, as has been going on.
If an agency wants to issue a waiver to say “We’re not going to buy an American product as part of this project; we’re going to buy a foreign product,” they have to come to the White House and explain it, he said.
These waivers would be publicly posted.
Biden directed the Office of Management and Budget to review waivers to make sure they are only used in very limited circumstances.
“For example, when there’s an overwhelming national security, humanitarian, or emergency need here in America.
“This hasn’t happened before. It will happen now,” he said.
Biden said that under the Build Back Better Recovery plan his administration will invest hundreds of billions of dollars in buying American products and materials to modernise infrastructure and competitive strength will increase in a competitive world.
That means millions of good-paying jobs, using American-made steel and technology, to rebuild roads, bridges, ports, and to make them more climate resilient, as well as making them able to move faster and cheaper and cleaner to transport American-made goods across the country and around the world, making the US more competitive.
“It also means replenishing our stockpiles to enhance our national security. As this pandemic has made clear, we can never again be in a position where we have to rely on a foreign country that doesn’t share our interest in order to protect our people during a national emergency.
“We need to make our own protective equipment, essential products and supplies. And we’ll work with our allies to make sure they have resilient supply chains as well,” Biden said.
Biden said that the executive action will not only require that companies make more of their components in America, but that the value of those components is contributing to the economy, measured by things like a number of American jobs created and/or supported.
“At the same time, we’ll be committed to working with our trading partners to modernise international trade rules, including those relating to government procurement, to make sure we can all use our taxpayer dollars to spur investment that promotes growth and resilient supply chains,” Biden said.
Shortly after taking office in 2017, Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump issued a series of executive orders that were aimed to strengthen rules requiring federal agencies to buy US-made goods when possible. But critics argued that effort fell short, partly because of Trump’s failure to adequately enforce the rules.
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