The ministry of electronics and IT (MeitY) is in favour of expanding its BPO promotion scheme, which aims to set up BPOs in small towns and rural areas in a bid to generate employment opportunities for youths, and is likely to approach the government for increasing fund allocation for the same. “We are moving very fast on India BPO Promotion Scheme (IBPS) and North East BPO Promotion Scheme (NEBPS) and the results are positive. We intend to conclude these two schemes in the next 6 months and want to expand it further,” IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters. Official sources said the strategy is to cover more non-metro towns and even villages. Though the present subsidy amount is available till March 2019, with the response from companies being “very optimistic”, MeitY is planning to move a proposal to the finance ministry for increasing the fund allocation, which is likely to come up in its deliberations for the Union Budget 2018-19.
Under this initiative, the government provides a subsidy of up to Rs 1 lakh per seat in the form of viability gap funding (VGF) to companies setting up BPOs in small towns. MeitY has earmarked Rs 493 crore for IBPS and an additional Rs 50 crore for NEBPS. It expects this would provide direct employment to around 1.45 lakh persons considering three shifts operations. A total of 48,300 seats for IBPS and 5,000 for NEBPS have to be allocated based on the population in the states. Of this, after four rounds of open bidding, 18,160 seats have been allocated to 109 units (centres) of 87 companies across 60 locations in 19 states and union territories.
Out of the total 109 allocated units, 76 have started operations on 13,480 seats in 48 locations across 17 states and union territories providing initial employment to 10,297 persons. BPOs have come up in towns such as Bhaderwah, Budgam, Sopore, Wardha, Kanpur, Varanasi, Bareilly, Sagar and Raipur.
Prasad said that the scheme has been successful as in the 5th round of bidding, which concluded on November 4, 68 companies submitted bids for 17,000 seats. Out of these, 54 new companies have submitted bids for locations in 40 new towns like Puri, Jahanabad, Mathura, Hubbali, Cuttack and Balasore. These locations will compete with BPOs in countries like Ireland, Vietnam and Philippines, the minister said adding that in the future there will be demand for BPOs catering to specific regions and languages.