New Delhi: Barmer, Rajasthan, the second largest district of India in terms of geographic spread, constitutes a major part of the hostile terrains of Thar Desert. The primary occupation of local inhabitants is rain-fed agriculture followed by livestock rearing, and there is a general lack of infrastructure facilities like roads, electricity, good schools and quality healthcare.
However, slowly but surely, a transformation is taking place in the socioeconomic landscape of Barmer. Cairn India, the fastest growing E&P company in the world, according to Platts, is working with the local communities and other partners on several initiatives which contribute to the development of the region.
As part of its endeavour to make a positive difference in the lives of the local community, Cairn India has launched ‘Samvriddhi’, a rural BPO initiative, in collaboration with RuralShores and Barmer Zilla Parishad. Samvriddhi aims to create economic independence among local youth, especially women, by providing them with customised training on basic computer and spoken English skills, to enhance their employability.
Samvriddhi is an extension of Cairn’s ongoing CSR initiatives towards creating local employment opportunities for the youth of Barmer. The BPO is a 100-seater facility and will employ 200 people in two shifts at peak operations.
Currently, rural BPOs are a miniscule share of the country’s thriving BPO industry; however, trends indicate their significant potential for growth in the near future. Opportunities in the rural BPO are tremendous in terms of access to a large market with growing disposable income and an increasingly aspirational lifestyle.
Also, the social impact of a rural BPO is huge, such as industry linkages which can redefine mind sets about rural areas as delivery centres; larger government initiatives leading to faster talent development and revamped state run schemes, all contributing to significant development in the region.
The Rural BPO Project is the first-of-its-kind in the western Rajasthan and marks the entry of ITeS in the region. The project is a good example of a PPP model, where the Barmer Zila Parishad provided space for the BPO, Cairn India the funding for the infrastructure and RuralShores being responsible for profitable and sustainable operations.
According to Idan Singh Solanki, BDO – Barmer, “Samvriddhi helped us in online data entry for the state-run pension schemes and have proven to be very resourceful. We look forward to working with the BPO for the NREGA project as well.”
Mahavir Singh, BDO – Baytoo, said, “Without the help extended by Samvriddhi, it would have been impossible for us to have the thousands of pension forms digitised on time. We look forward to working with them on other digitisation works such as the Aadhar Project and NREGA project.”
Rural BPO is set up with the sole objective of creating a model which will ensure 100 per cent employability for the candidates undergoing computer training and other vocational courses at the Enterprise Centre, another initiative being run successfully by Cairn India in Barmer district.
NASSCOM Foundation, the social arm of NASSCOM, is driving the initiative of fostering rural BPOs in India and working towards bringing social and economic change in rural India, to bring about inclusive growth in years to come.
The Enterprise Centre offers vocational courses and technical skills trainings to help economically empower the youth and women of the region. It conducts a number of initiatives to improve the quality of life and to create a positive impact in the important areas of education, health, infrastructure and economic development.
Almost 300 students have already been given trained in domains ranging from BPO training to computer operations, electrical training, masonry, welding etc. Candidates have also been equipped with spoken English skills and other soft skills.