The government today said it has allotted over 35,000 out of 48,300 seats under India BPO promotion scheme that aims to put smaller towns on the global digital map, and is likely to meet the full target in six months. The scheme, which aims to promote BPO operations in smaller towns and cities, provides special incentives of up to Rs 1 lakh per seat in form of viability gap funding and disbursement of financial support is directly linked to job creation. “BPO is becoming a platform for digital aspiration in smaller towns, as part of this scheme. BPOs in smaller cities and towns will be the biggest accelerator of digital empowerment,” IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said at a conference. The minister said of the 48,300 seats that the ‘India BPO Promotion Scheme’ provides, as many as 35,160 seats have already been allocated after the multiple rounds of bidding. “I think it will be completed very early. In six months, it (target) should be complete,” Prasad said when asked about the timeframe for allotting all the seats available under the ambitious programme.
Providing an update on the scheme, he said that after four rounds of open bidding process, 18,160 seats had been allocated to 109 units of 87 companies across 60 locations (19 states). Of these, 76 units have begun operations on 13,480 seats distributed across 48 locations. This has already resulted in initial employment for 10,297 people, he pointed out. Moreover, in the fifth round that closed last month, 68 companies submitted bids for 17,000 seats, and these are currently under evaluation. Some of the new locations where operations have started under the BPO (business process outsourcing) scheme are Tirupati, Guntupalli, Rajamundry (Andhra Pradesh), Patna and Muzaffarpur (Bihar), Raipur(Chattisgarh), Baddi and Shimla (Himachal Pradesh), Sagar(Madhya Pradesh), Bhubaneshwar, Cuttack and Jaleshwar (Odisha). Bids have also been received for locations like Chittoor, Mathura, Jahanabad, Gaya, Vellore, Tirupur among others and are being evaluated. Under another similar scheme for Northeast region called the ‘North East BPO Promotion Scheme’, which entails another 5,000 seats, 1,630 seats have been allocated to 11 companies across five states. Of these, seven units have started operations on 900 seats providing direct employment to 723 people. Also, in the latest round of bidding six companies have submitted bids for additional 550 seats, which are under examination. The outlay for the ‘India BPO Promotion Scheme’ is Rs 493 crore, while that of ‘North East BPO Promotion Scheme’ is Rs 50 crore, Prasad said. “Together the schemes are allowing the youth to find jobs in their own cities and towns instead of migrating to urban clusters. It is also allowing us to be cost-competitive vis a vis international BPO destinations like Ireland, Vietnam and the Philippines,” the minister said.