Since the Digital India initiative has come into existence, the Indian IT sector has picked-up quite healthy growth momentum. But the roll-out and implementation of this initiative was not an easy task. STPI has played a very crucial role here in making the Digital India initiative successful and it is still working very hard to roll out many other projects which will be beneficial in developing the IT infrastructure across India. In line with other sectors, the BPO sector has also witnessed tremendous growth in recent years. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Electronics & IT is setting-up BPOs in the north-east region of India through the NEBPS scheme to boost basic infrastructure in the region. Dr. Omkar Rai, Director General, Software Technology Parks of India (STPI), briefly shared his opinion on STPI's role in the growth of IT sector and entire details related to the NEBPS scheme in a recent exclusive interaction with Rajeev Ranjan, Editor & Publisher, Digital Terminal. Read below the excerpt:
Mr. Rajeev: How do you see the role of STPI in making mission Digital India a reality one?
Dr. Rai: Software Technology Parks of India is an autonomous society under Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India. STPI played a pivotal role in building the present-day IT outsourcing services industry, with its 59 centres pan India. STPI has had a nucleating effect on the growth of software exports from these locations and have generated employment & entrepreneurial opportunities across the country.
Keeping align with Digital India initiative, STPI constantly endeavours to create an environment apposite for the start-ups and the same is manifested by the several projects and initiatives i.e. Electropreneur Park, Semiconductor Measurement Analysis & Reliability (SMART) LAB, India BPO Promotion Scheme (IBPS)/North East BPO Promotion Scheme (NEBPS), Centre of Excellences (CoEs) etc. which STPI is either spearheading or has partnered.
Mr. Rajeev: What are the key factors that have played a big role in the growth of the BPO/ITES sector across India?
Dr. Rai: India is the largest process management destination in the world. The Indian BPO industry rose to the echelons due to its abundant skill pool, economies of scale, process engineering and enhancements, wage arbitrage, increased profit margins and improvements in quality. It is still the most favoured outsourcing location due to the combined value proposition of productivity, quality and cost-effectiveness. The favourable and timely steps taken by the government has been fuelling the growth further.
Mr. Rajeev: How do you extend your reach and support in northeast part of India? What all steps STPI has taken to support growth BPO/ITES related services in northeast states?
Dr. Rai: STPI is the implementing agency for North East BPO Promotion Scheme (NEBPS) which is an endeavour of MeitY. With a budget of ₹50 crore, the scheme will prove to be a growth facilitator for the region. Through this scheme a BPO/ITES ecosystem is getting created in this region which in turn will enabling youth to earn a decent livelihood in their own vicinity and thus, helping them to stay with their families.
Mr. Rajeev: What are the eligibility criteria for any companies to take benefits from the NEBPS scheme?
Dr. Rai: A company registered under The Companies Act, 1956/2013 or Limited Liability Partnership Act, 2008 may participate in NEBPS on meeting certain criteria. Societies, Proprietary firms and Entrepreneurs may also participate in the bidding process by forming a consortium with and eligible entity. A bidding organization may apply for as low as 25 seats under the scheme with average annual turnover of at least Rs 1 Crore. Maximum number of seats that can be applied by one bidder is 1500 to setup operation under NEBPS at one of multiple locations of North East.
Mr. Rajeev: How the NEBPS scheme would help in maximizing the employment rate in north-east region?
Dr. Rai: STPI aims to create local employments through the scheme. NEBPS envisions setting of 5000 BPO/ITES seats which would lead to employment of more than 7500 people. The presence of BPO/ITES industry would create an ecosystem which in turn would attract more and more industry players to enter the region thus, create huge employment opportunities.
Mr. Rajeev: What is the current implementation status of NEBPS?
Dr. Rai: NEBPS is showing promising impact in the region and has been able to attain decent coverage in terms of allocation of BPO/ITES units. As on date, about 16 companies have been approved under the scheme to setup 21 units in 6 States of North East. 4 more companies have qualified in recent round of bidding and their approvals are under process. BPOs under the scheme are already operational in locations like Guwahati, Majuli, Itanagar, Imphal, Kohima, Shillong and Agartala. Further, disbursal of financial support to units has also started under NEBPS.
It is encouraging to witness that these BPO/ITES units of the region are not only providing services in domains like telecom, digital marketing, insurance, healthcare support, form processing etc, but some are even successfully serving international clients from USA and UK.