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BPO firms unimpressed with sops
BS Regional Bureau in Ahmedabad | September 04, 2004 16:07 IST
Despite the state government's best efforts to lure business process outsourcing firms, the industry is not impressed.
BPO will grow only if other services like good roads, mass urban transport, secondary BPO industries like training and recruitment firms are in place, industry sources said.
The Gujarat government on Friday made a forceful plea to BPO firms to set up bases in Gujarat. It promised to offer inputs like power and other facilities at 30 per cent cheaper rates than in other states.
The government also assured that all necessary infrastructure will be put in place for the growth of the industry. Gujarat does not figure among the top three states where BPO is growing as an industry. According to a Nasscom study, it is rated fifth in this regard.
Admitting that corporates cannot set up the necessary infrastructure for industry, Chief Minister Narendra Modi said that, while the state already has the largest wide area network in Asia and the second largest in the world, it will also provide quality power and other facilities to the BPO industry.
"Just processing information will perhaps not be enough. Gujarat should look at processing information and adding value to it before transmitting it back," Modi said.
"The demand for BPO is there all over the country and these units are not concentrated at any one place. What is of concern is supply. This includes infrastructure and, more importantly, entry-level and middle-level talent," said Akshaya Bhargava, MD and CEO, Progeon, an Infosys company.
"Just having a Gandhinagar is not enough. There are many other factors that play a role. But I was impressed with the chief minister's speech," he added.
Earlier, Neeraj Bhargava, group CEO, WNS India, said a host of factors contributed towards creating an ideal environment for the growth of the BPO industry. He added that putting in place the right infrastructure, coupled with other factors, will help boost the industry.
When asked if the widespread and prolonged communal clashes in Gujarat was a contributing factor for BPO not growing at the rate it should, Akshaya Bhargava said: "That should be treated as an illness, which one has to get over with and get on with Clean slate helps: Modi
Humour was not lost even while discussing a serious issue like the future of BPO in India.
In his speech, Modi wondered what the reason was for large number of call centres shifting from south India to Gujarat."I was told by industry leaders that they find it easier to teach youngsters in Gujarat the new accent required for the call center business. They said that it takes over six months for companies to complete the 'unlearning process' for south Indian youngsters. This is because, the south Indian accent has to be undone before the new accent can be taught. In Gujarat, it is a lot easier as the slate is clean. Time is saved as youngsters do not know any English to develop an accent," the CM said.