BPO/ Call centre
Government to issue tender for rural BPO. In Picture: Kashmiris work at a business process outsourcing centre in Rangreth, on the outskirts of Srinagar, August 9, 2004. Undeterred by the regular bursts of gunfire, grenade attacks and bomb blasts, a lone tech firm in revolt-torn Kashmir is trying to catch up with an outsourcing boom that has earned India billions of dollars.REUTERS

The government is expected to call the tender for allocation of business process outsourcing (BPO) centres in rural India, sources told Business Standard. Budget 2016 envisions rural BPOs to start operations by 2017, and has allocated Rs. 500 crore towards it.

Reportedly, 190 new rural BPOs with an employment capacity of 1.25 lakh employees each shift will come up across India's vast suburban landscape. A target of 45,000 seats has been set for 2019.

Budget had said the government would offer subsidy of up to 50 percent of capital expenditure, or Rs 1 lakh per seat, whichever is lower, to promote its India's BPO Promotion Scheme (IBPS).

Calling the rural BPO initiative a flagship programme of the Digital India scheme, a senior official explained the IBPS creates job via information technology and balances growth of IT-enabled services (ITeS) across each state, particularly the digitally deficient ones.

A National Association of Software Services Companies (Nasscom) report says Ahmedabad, Kochi, Kolkata and Jaipur, along with Bhubaneswar, Kochi, Visakhapatnam, Thiruvananthapuram, Chandigarh and Indore, are fast emerging as new destinations for business process management/outsourcing (BPM).

"These cities have made their way to the BPM (BPO) sector map owing to their excellent infrastructure, including cheaper real estate, cost-competitiveness, availability of talent and conducive business environment," the Nasscom report said.

India's BPO sector is worth $23.3 billion today, an eightfold increase from a decade ago, and employs 9.56 lakh people in all.

Under the centre's ambitious National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) project, seven states, including West Bengal, Odisha and Himachal Pradesh, have proposed their own models of broadband network. These big states apart, a substantial number of call centres are expected to come up in Assam, Manipur and Tripura.

"A major part of this scheme will help generate more jobs in the northeastern region. In the first phase itself, around 30,000 new jobs would be created," the official said.