Mounting operational costs and plethora of urban problems have forced BPO industry to explore possibilities in semi-urban and rural areas for expanding their operations and to enhance output.
Pramod Bhasin, non-executive vice-chairman of Genpact, the largest BPO in India, said, “If the pressures of the growing city reach the choking level, the industry will have to look for options. Some rural BPOs driven by new entrepreneurs are already working in India. To start with, we can develop an integrated mechanism to work with them. For example, we can outsource our small operations to them.”
Bhasin, however, added that it will take some time for the concept of rural BPOs taking off on a large scale.
Nasscom chairman Som Mittal said developing micro and rural BPOs was a nice idea as it generates employment for the local youth.
He said the focus presently was to penetrate the tier-II and tier-III cities and then move towards setting up rural centres.
However, a section of the industry was not that optimistic. Fidelity India Business Services managing director Nitin Seth said, “It’s a wise idea but it has its own limitations. We are a little far away from seeing any spurt in rural BPOs.” The industry has already tied up with the central government to train the underprivileged youth and would look into how best the local talent can be tapped,” Seth added.
Industry experts say around 70% of the workforce working in over 500 BPO companies in India are from the tier-II and tier-III cities. India’s first rural BPO Harva was set up by entrepreneur Ajay Chaturvedi in 2009, at Teekli village, nearly 40 km from Gurgaon.