The government’s scheme to promote business process outsourcing (BPO) operations in rural areas has so far created over 11,500 jobs across the country. Almost 40 per cent of these positions have been filled by women candidates.
The scheme, conceived in 2014 under the Digital India Programme, seeks to incentivise establishment of 48,300 seats in respect of BPO operations across India. With an outlay of Rs 4.93 billion, the scheme provides special incentives of up to Rs 100,000 per seat in the form of viability gap funding.
According to the latest information available with the Electronics and IT Ministry, 31,632 seats have been allocated across 27 states and 11,576 jobs have been created.
Although the scheme got lukewarm response in the beginning and most of the big IT companies stayed away from it, the momentum has now been achieved and five rounds of bidding for allocation have already been completed.
As many as 128 companies have been approved to set up 180 units across 91 small towns and cities. Of the approved seats, around 14,000 have started operations.
The scheme has the potential to create over 150,000 jobs when all the seats become fully operational. According to government officials, the scheme is working as a tool for the uplift of women; housewives may be incentivised to run BPO operations from their homes. The scheme already gives special incentives for employment of women and specially enabled people.
BPO centres running under the scheme are currently offering services in 16 languages, including English, Hindi, Urdu and other regional languages, besides Arabic and Spanish. Over 20 units are offering services to international clients, including those located in the US and Canada.
Major work domains of the units are financial accounting and data punching, e-commerce, insurance, e-Learning, education and tech support, data entry, outbound sales, call centre, data conversion and back-office support services for financial services, among others.
The scheme is also well-received in the hilly state of Jammu & Kashmir and 7 units have already started operations in cities like Srinagar, Bugdam, Sopore, Bhaderwah and Jammu.
Another similar scheme for the Northeast, with an outlay of Rs 500 million, entails the creation of another 5,000 seats, of which 2,060 have been allocated to 14 companies to set up 19 units in 12 cities. Of these, 7 units for 900 seats have reported commencement of operations employing 954 people.