The government's ambitious BPO scheme aims to create over 48,000 BPO seats in smaller towns to get them on the global digital map of the country. "We are confident of reaching the target in the coming six months," Prasad said.
The scheme, rolled out in 2015, aims to promote BPO operations in smaller towns, and provides special incentives of up to Rs 1lakh per seat in the form of viability gap funding. Disbursement of financial support is directly linked to job creation. "BPO is becoming a platform for digital aspiration in smaller towns, as part of this scheme.
BPOs in smaller cities and towns will be the biggest accelerator of digital empowerment," the minister said. He said after four rounds of open bidding process, 18,160 seats had been allocated to 109 units of 87 companies across 60 locations in 19 states.
Some of the new locations where operations have started under the BPO scheme are Tirupati, Guntupalli, Rajamundry (Andhra Pradesh), Patna and Muzaffarpur (Bihar), Raipur(Chattisgarh), Baddi and Shimla (Himachal Pradesh), Sagar(Madhya Pradesh), Bhubaneshwar, Cuttack and Jaleshwar (Odisha).
Bids have also been received for locations like Chittoor, Mathura, Jahanabad, Gaya, Vellore, Tirupur among others and are being evaluated.
Under another similar scheme for Northeast region called the 'North East BPO Promotion Scheme', which entails another 5,000 seats, 1,630 seats have been allocated to 11 companies across five states.
The outlay for the 'India BPO Promotion Scheme' is Rs 493 crore, while that of 'North East BPO Promotion Scheme' is Rs 50 crore, Prasad said.
"Together the schemes are allowing the youth to find jobs in their own cities and towns instead of migrating to urban clusters. It is also allowing us to be cost-competitive vis a vis international BPO destinations like Ireland, Vietnam and the Philippines," the minister said.
(With inputs from PTI)