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Centre Frees Voice-Based BPOs as Global Rivals Rise.
Economy & Commerce

Centre Frees Voice-Based BPOs as Global Rivals Rise.

To cement India’s position as a preferred global outsourcing destination, the government on Wednesday (23 June 2021) liberalised guidelines for voice-based Business Process Outsourcing (BPOs) removing the distinction between domestic and international units as well as permitting interconnectivity between all types of other service providers (OSPs) centres. The centre has decided to unshackle the multi-billion-dollar Indian BPO industry, removing the need for a number of regulatory approvals and compliances.

Broadly, the rules would allow the companies all across the world, say an airline, with a voice-based centre in India to now serve international as well as domestic customers with common telecom resources, something that required dedicated and separate infrastructure previously. The move will lead to the simplification of the process of infrastructure and work-sharing between different entities to build upscale and speed.

Moreover, the restrictions on data interconnectivity between any BPO centre of the same company, a group company or any unrelated company has been done away with, thus allowing for huge flexibility in resource management for BPO operations.

The connectivity guidelines have also been relaxed for remote call centre agents, in any location, to link with customers. The move, which primarily impacts voice-based BPOs, allows companies that provide outsourcing services of various hues to share work between each other, take domestic as well as international assignments on the same infrastructure, apart from providing relaxation for the employees who may have relocated to remote areas after the Covid-19 pandemic. All in all, the measures would lead to relatively major cost savings and would significantly improve utilisation for BPOs, thus positioning India as a favourable hub for IT-enabled service operations.

While OSPs will have to self-regulate their operations and there is no need for the submission of reports to the telecom department on a routine basis, players will have to maintain call data record, usage data record and system log for all customer calls for a stipulated period of time, and abide by the data security norms.

“In order to encourage our BPO industry, OSP guidelines that were liberalised in November 2020 have been simplified even further, offering greater ease of business and regulatory clarity. This will further reduce compliance burden and help our tech industry,” PM Modi said in a tweet.

“The guidelines issued today are revolutionary in nature and will make India a favourable destination for expansion of voice-related BPO centres,” Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

These liberalised guidelines for OSPs mark a series of initiatives that the government has undertaken to liberalise the working of the IT sector of India and allow the option of the ‘work-from-anywhere’ phenomenon. The revised guidelines would benefit BPO organisations giving voice-based services, in India and abroad. Simply put OSPs are entities that provide application services, IT-enabled and call centre services or any kind of outsourcing services using telecom resources.

A BPO centre having common telecom resources will now be able to serve customers located worldwide, including India. With the removal of the distinction between domestic and international units, the interconnectivity between all such centres is now permitted, according to the new guidelines.

The Indian IT-BPO industry was worth $37.6 billion in 2019-2021, and had the potential to rise to $55.5 billion over the next four to five years, the Telecom Minister said. On the other hand, revenues from the Business Process Management (BPM) industry grew to $38.5 billion in the Financial Year 2021, up from 37.6 in the Financial Year 2020 despite the pandemic, he added.

“This was largely possible because of the industry’s ability to work remotely and majorly enabled by the Government of India’s relaxations of work from home requirements under the OSP regime, first temporarily, in March 2020 and then complete reforms under the new guidelines in November 2020,” an official DoT release stated.

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