SOFTWARE NEW DELHI The software and business process outsourcing (BPO) industry's growth is expected to slow down considerably next financial year, the organisation representing the Indian software industry says in its annual report released Wednesday. The National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom) report said while the industry clocked a combined growth rate of 28.2 percent in 2007-08, this is expected to slow down to between 21-24 percent in the next fiscal. But even the projected growth rate of 21-24 percent is "robust" and in sync with the industry target of achieving $60 billion of exports by 2010, Nasscom president Som Mittal told reporters. He said the industry was "right on target" to achieve the 2010 export goal. "In the last eight years the average growth rate has been 33.7 percent. We have had as much as 50 percent growth in a single year initially. But it is natural for the growth to stabilise as the industry grows," he said. The gross revenue from domestic as well as export markets increased to $52 billion in 2007-08 as compared to $39.6 billion the year before. However, the growth rate fell from around 33 percent in 2006-07. Exports of information technology (IT) services alone grew by 28.2 percent to gross $23.1 billion, while the BPO sector showed an increase of 30 percent, fetching $10.9 as compared to $8.4 billion the previous fiscal. Mittal said the industry handled the subprime mortgage crisis in the US well by venturing into industries that were not affected, such as transport, telecom and healthcare. He, however, admitted that 2007-08 was a "difficult" year because of slowdown in the US economy, the oil and food crises, and currency fluctuations. Mittal said the full impact of the situation in the US is yet to be felt by Indian companies, and that corporates would have to find ways to cut costs and enhance productivity. "The cost-cutting measures can have an impact on recruiting process of these companies and the pay-packages offered to fresh graduates," he added. IT services and the BPO sector has a two million-strong workforce that is increasing by 26 percent annually, the Nasscom report stated. Mittal brushed aside concerns about the future of outsourcing as it has become a major issue in the run-up to the presidential elections in the US. "In 2003-04 elections also, offshoring had become a major issue, but the industry has only grown ever since. It is more of an emotive issue. Barack Obama, (the Democratic hopeful) who once voiced his concerns about outsourcing recently acknowledged its importance and referred to it as 'inevitable'," he said. TCS TOP 10 Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has maintained its position as the country’s top IT software and services exporter for FY08, followed by Infosys and Wipro. The pecking order during the year remained virtually unchanged for the top eight players compared to the previous year. According to IT exporter ranking for 2007-08 released by Nasscom here, Satyam Computer Services was placed in the fourth slot, followed by HCL Technologies, Tech Mahindra, Patni Computer Systems and i-Flex Solutions, in that order. However, Mphasis was placed ninth in the list, even as L&T InfoTech had to contend with the tenth spot, one position lower than the previous year. In the BPO rankings, Genpact took the pole position, followed by WNS Global Services in the second slot, while IBM Daksh Business process Services was placed third. Transworks Information Services which had clinched the third slot in 06-07, was placed fourth in the latest rankings. TCS BPO, Wipro BPO, Firstsource Solutions, Infosys BPO, HCL BPO, and EXL Service Holdings, completed the top 10 list.