The increasing movement of Business Process Outsourcing companies into rural India to leverage lower cost labour and greater retention levels has added benefits for BPO employees. With BPOs hiring in rural parts of India, women are taking advantage of the opportunities to work outside their homes. In addition, BPO center jobs offer an opportunity for professional growth as employees are required to carry out knowledge-based tasks, which “are more lucrative and add value.” It is official. BPOs are indeed going rural. Growth of rural BPOs is helping firms deliver services at lower cost and generate jobs in villages, noted a recent survey by the National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom).

New market studies sponsored by Nasscom show that rural BPOs, powered by trained human resources in Tier-III and Tier-IV cities, are driving the growth of the industry.

“Lower cost of operations and better retention of employees are driving growth,” said a recent Nasscom survey titled Strategic Review 2011.

This means villagers are now getting entry into the core operations of BPOs, after playing supporting roles in housekeeping, catering, security and transport, industry veterans noted.

Meanwhile, governments are aiding the entry of BPOs into villages. “There is growth in the rural BPO sector, but it is limited largely to the southern states,” said industry observer Harish Bijoor.

Over the last two years Karnataka alone has cleared twenty-odd village BPOs across the state. The state is promoting firms that undertook local and offshore work at Srirangapatna in Mandya, Salgame in Hassan, Gundlupet in Chamarajanagar, Shiggaon in Haveri and elsewhere.

Karnataka’s rural BPO scheme invites voice and databased services of all kind, including finance, accounting, call centre, medical transcription, engineering, data management and medical services.

The policy has changed villages like Kaup in Udupi. Kaup, once known for its pristine beaches and three well-known temples, can now boast of a ‘BPO. DesiCrew, a pioneering BPO firm, has a centre there.

The Kaup centre, along with its counterparts in Tamil Nadu, such as Appakudal in Erode, Ammapalayam in Coimbatore, Thirukuvalai in Nagapattinam and Kollumangudi in Thiruvarur, helps flatten the globe.

Young women in silk saris and davanis (half saris), sporting marigold and jasmine on their hair, can be found working on GIS applications that spot places in Africa, translate Wikipedia content or monitor the Website of a global communication and content giant in these centres.

Many of these women would have quit their jobs after marriage if the place of employment was a city or would not have ventured out of their villages in the first place, managers said.

“Companies are keen to outsource work to villages,” said Ashwanth G., who co-founded DesiCrew back in 2007. “People are realising that BPOs need not be fancy places in glass and chrome urban settings. And it is a mistake to limit village jobs to entry level,” Ashwanth added.

“Knowledge-based tasks are more lucrative, adds value and offers growth potential,” Ashwanth said. “Two years ago, at the peak of recession, we had substantial work and did not have to cut down salaries. More opportunities are coming now.” The work sources come closer home, too. A little over an hour’s drive from Bangalore on the way to Mysore, the silk town of Ramanagaram, Comat, the Karnataka government, in an e-governance effort, bundles up mobile connectivity, basic computer education and personal accident insurance for villagers.

Educated rural youth run all the services. “Government, utilities, healthcare and retail present immense growth opportunities,” the Nasscom study noted.

Courtesy: Mail Today