Government scheme for rural BPOs

In order to promote its ambitious rural business process outsourcing (BPO) scheme, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology will soon list its services on the government eMarketplace portal GeM —which has become a onestop destination for all government buying — said Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday. The India BPO Promotion Scheme was flagged off soon after the Modi government came to power in 2014 and had an outlay of almost Rs 500 crore.

Aimed at creating thousands of job opportunities in smaller cities, the scheme had a total target of 48,000 seats. Prasad said that around 35,000 seats have been taken up so far. “I have also given instructions to further expand the scheme beyond the 48,000 seats, given the huge job opportunities that it provides for people in small towns of the country,” said Prasad. Companies such as Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Amazon and Karvy Data Management among others have set up operations under the government.

Under the scheme the government provides subsidy of up to Rs 1 lakh for each BPO seat set in a tier-II or tier-III town. According to officials, the fifth round of bidding has just concluded and received better response than all the rounds so far. While in the first-four rounds almost 18,160 seats were allocated, in the fifth round which closed last month, 68 companies submitted bids for around 17,000 seats, which are currently under evaluation.

“The government has tweaked the policy in the latest round significantly which has led to a very good response from companies,” said a ministry official requesting anonymity. He added that the changes include allowing for subsidy on operational expenditure and lease and rent of space instead of just on outright purchases in capital expenditure.