It was on a trip to Bengaluru that IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who at that time also held the telecom portfolio, met some youths from Bihar who requested him to do something which would enable them to work back home rather than come to far off places in search of livelihood.
It was on a trip to Bengaluru that IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who at that time also held the telecom portfolio, met some youths from Bihar who requested him to do something which would enable them to work back home rather than come to far off places in search of livelihood. And thus was born the idea of promoting BPOs in smaller towns and cities. According to Prasad, the industry wouldn’t have gone to smaller places unless provided with some incentive and so his ministry formulated a per-seat subsidy policy. Almost three years later, the initiative is thriving. “I am quite sure that the day is not far when the movement of taking BPOs to smaller places will be a subject of study for global strategists,” Prasad told FE.
“Now, the IT industry is no more confined to only metros and big cities. They have moved to smaller towns and the youth no longer needs to move out of their native place in search of jobs,” he added. The IT ministry in 2015 launched two schemes — the India BPO Promotion Scheme (IBPS) and North East BPO Promotion Scheme (NEBPS) — under which it provides capital support along with special incentives of up to Rs 1 lakh per seat in the form of viability gap funding. Under the IBPS and NEBPS, the target was to create a total of 53,300 seats and 268 BPO centres across 110 cities spread over 22 states and six Union territories.
A total of 184 companies are participating in the process for call centres in cities of their choice. So far, 47,495 BPO seats have been allocated, of which 29,147 seats and 153 centres have already become operational. BPOs have started operations in small towns like Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh; Muzaffarpur in Bihar; Raipur in Chhattisgarh; Baddi in Himachal Pradesh; Sagar in Madhya Pradesh; Jaleshwar in Odisha, Karim Nagar in Telangana; Bhaderwah in Jammu and Kashmir, Sangli in Maharashtra and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. They have helped generate 18,916 jobs, which includes 6,417 jobs for women.
Prasad said that such measures will strengthen Prime Minister’s Digital India programme and lead to lot of other services. “Like the television revolution was sparked by the proliferation of channels, in a similar manner I see lot of services mushrooming through the community service centres (CSCs) which have also grown several folds under this government,” he said.