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UK to support BPO: Swaraj Paul

January 12, 2004 14:34 IST

Putting to rest all apprehension about creation of more outsourcing jobs in India despite the hue and cry over outsourcing jobs to India from the United Kingdom, specially by the unions, Lord Swaraj Paul, co-chairman UK-India Round Table, and Chairman, Caparo Group Ltd, said that the UK government was not against outsourcing.

On the contrary it had made it clear that it would be supporting outsourcing to India.

Some large outsourcing contracts that attracted mass attention were the relocation of the UK rail enquiry system and some 4000 jobs from HSBC being outsourced to Asian countries.

Lord Paul also said 450-odd Indian companies have set up companies in the UK in the last three years, creating jobs there.

Earlier in the day, K C Pant, co-chairman at the VII India-UK Round table said that there has recently been an intense and at times heated debate in the UK on the issue of outsourcing.

India, as the world's leading business process outsourcing destination, has by default been at the centre of this debate.

"There is wide agreement that outsourcing is an economic phenomenon motivated by purely business considerations. At the heart of the debate are perceived job losses on the one hand and issue of efficiency, profitability and ultimately competitiveness on the other," he explained.

Pant also mentioned that the UK government's position was supported by other parties in the United States.

"This was clear during a House of Commons debate on outsourcing last month, where Peter Luff, the chairman of the Conservative Parliamentary Friends of India, emphatically supported outsourcing to India, which he felt was a process by which both UK and India would gain. Indeed we need to look at outsourcing as something that is mutually beneficially. Efforts need to be taken to guard against making this a politically contentious issue," Pant said.

Talking about West Bengal, Pant also said that the state was the most unsung state all over the world.

However there is a difference of opinion between UK and India with regards to the subsidy element in agriculture.

"This was because India has around 65 per cent of its population dependant on agriculture while in UK the figure was four to five per cent," Lord Paul explained.

BS Bureau in Kolkata