By Omer Farooq
BBC News, Hyderabad
Business leaders have warned that India's information technology (IT) industry is heading towards a severe shortage of highly-skilled manpower.
Firms like Infosys are finding it harder to find new talent
They say India will not be able to achieve its targeted growth rates if the issue is not tackled immediately.
Young engineers and college graduates lack necessary skills, a conference in the city of Hyderabad was told.
Software industry body Nasscom has warned that India faces a shortfall of half a million skilled workers by 2010.
Nasscom President Kiran Karnik told the conference that the availability of skilled engineers would be the biggest challenge for industry in the years to come.
India's IT industry is key to keeping growth rates on target
He said the IT industry in India needed something like 350,000 engineers per annum, but no more than 150,000 of the most highly-skilled engineers were available each year.
This was creating severe shortages of talent, Mr Karnik said, and the industry was definitely concerned.
There was a huge number of graduates and engineers, but people with the technical and communications and team-working skils that were required were often lacking, he told the conference.
At present, the IT and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industries in India employ 1.3 million people.
This year India's software exports are expected to reach $30bn while the domestic software business is likely to be worth $7-8bn.
Intel (India) president Frank B Jones told the conference that it was becoming more and more difficult to find the required skills among school leavers and graduates in India.
He said that firms hiring people with basic level skills from universities found that it took a very long training programme to integrate them into the companies' work culture.
As a way out, companies like Intel had started relying on those skilled Indians who - having worked in the US for several years - now wanted to return home.
Frank Jones said that about 10% of Intel's work force had come back through that programme.