In order to cater to domestic as well as international customers, companies offering outsourcing services under the India BPO promotion scheme (IBPS) are operating in 16 languages, including Spanish, English, Arabic and Hindi. The scheme, which was launched by the Ministry of Electronics and IT to put smaller towns on the global digital map, has so far provided employment to 10,968 people across the country. According to an official in the ministry, a total of 61 cities in 21 states and Union Territories have been already covered by the scheme. The regional languages include Oriya, Tamil, Gujarati, Marathi, Telugu, Kannada, Bengali, Malayalam, Kashmiri, Urdu, Rajasthani and Punjabi. The scheme provides financial support in the form of viability gap funding to eligible companies. The objectives of the scheme include creation of employment opportunities by promoting the IT/ITes industry, particularly by setting up BPO operations in smaller cities. The scheme is planned to ensure substantial investment and is likely to have a multiplier effect on the economy in times to come. Software Technology Parks of India (STPI), an autonomous society of Electronics and IT Ministry, is the nodal agency for implementation of the IBPS. The official said with a total budgetary outlay of Rs 4.93 billion, the scheme had the potential to create nearly 150,000 direct employment opportunities and a good number of indirect jobs in the sector. The scheme provides special incentives of up to Rs 100,000 per seat in the form of viability gap funding.
About 48,300 seats had been planned across states and UTs based on population percentage and so far 35,160 seats have been allocated after five rounds of bidding. After four rounds of open bidding, 18,160 seats had been allocated to 87 companies in 60 locations in 19 states. Of these, 76 units have begun operations with 13,480 seats distributed across 48 locations and this has resulted in initial employment for 10,297 people. In the fifth round that closed last month, 68 firms submitted bids for 17,000 seats, and these are currently under evaluation.