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Arnab Mandal is currently pursuing Master's in Sustainable Development Practice at TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute) University in New Delhi, India. Prior to joining this programme he worked for IBM. He holds Bachelor of Engineering degree in Information Technology from Bengal Engineering and Science University, Shibpur. His areas of interest include e-Governance, ICT4D, Sustainability Consulting and Public Policy. His article on sustainable development planning was published on Governance Now (online). He co-authored the Best Paper Award winning paper in Entrepreneurship and Skill Development category at the 15th State Science and Technology Congress, West Bengal, India in 2008.
This paper presents an innovative idea about a new telecentre model for inclusive growth. This model will not only be financially sustainable but it will also be significantly effective for digital and financial inclusion. Technical Relevance and Merit: For improvement of socio-economic condition of inhabitants of rural areas, multiple livelihood opportunities are needed as alone agriculture will not be able to bring financial prosperity in rural society given the fact that most of the farmers in India are small holders. For economic development of rural areas it is very important to improve the local economy through multiple ways. Subsistence farming alone does not have ability to bring economic prosperity. In developing countries like India, there is a need for thrust from bottom in today's scenario that will help people move out of the poverty trap. 'Pragati' which means progress is an idea for women empowerment along with multiple facilities in rural areas through ICT. Pragati will be a multi-facility telecentre of which BPO service will be the main revenue generating activity. The initial phase of its implementation can be planned in Jharkhand. A huge number of unemployed tribal men and women are there who have studied upto 10th standard. So, to find employees will not at all be a big challenge. Innovation in the proposed
work lies in terms of a new approach. BPO is not a new thing in India, but rural BPO is comparatively new. Moreover, Pragati will not just be a BPO centre, it will be much beyond that. It will be a a multi-facility telecentre with the following service/ activity: 1. BPO/ call centre service 2. FINO (Financial Inclusion Network & Operations Ltd. ) centre (For more information on this please visit: http://fino.co.in/bcs.aspx ) 3. Digital classroom education to school kids 4. Digital literacy to adults 5. Information Centre (for providing various information related to farming, government schemes, etc.) 6. Mobile related services (e.g. ringtone, wallpaper downloading) Pragati, which will be an amalgamation of activities and services based on ICT, will be unique and innovative since there is no such initiative till now in the country which offers so many services.
Various services/ activities of Pragati
Objectives: The main objectives of Pragati will be as follow: • • • • • • Reduction in the unemployment level in Jharkhand Creation of multiple livelihood opportunities for bringing economic prosperity Women empowerment through job creation Breaking digital divide in the society through digital inclusion Financial inclusion through FINO Hepling villagers by giving information about farming practices, various government schemes, etc. Approach/ Work Plan: The building of Pragati will have a seating capacity of 50 at the initial phase. During 9 AM to 6 PM in the morning every week (Monday to Saturday), the BPO activity will take place. Only women will be allowed to be employees of the BPO. They will get Rs. 5000.00 as monthly salary. Sunday will be holiday for the centre. After the BPO activity gets over they centre will be used for providing digital classroom education with concepts like 'Hole in the Wall' for school kids. This activity will happen only 3 days in a week. Other 3 days will be used for providing digital literacy to adults. Initially two computers will be used for the 'Information Centre' purpose. There will be one computer each for the purpose of 'FINO Centre' and mobile related business. Activity/ Service BPO Digital classroom Digital literacy FINO Information Centre Mobile related business Days 6 (Monday – Saturday) 3 (Monday, Friday) 3 (Tuesday, Thursday, Satuday) 6:30 PM – 8PM 6 6 6 9 AM – 6 PM 9 AM – 6 PM 12 PM – 8 PM Timing 9 AM – 6PM Wednesday, 6:30 PM – 8 PM
Apart from 3 services/ activities mentioned below all other will be free or non-revenue generating activity. The following table shows list of revenue generating activities and revenue sources. Activity/ Service BPO Centre FINO Centre Mobile related business Revenue Source Contracts with client organizations Contracts with FINO Payment from customer
Thanks to the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP), almost all the villages in India are going to be connected with the rest of the country through the national network backbone. So, broadband Internet connection which is very important for Pragati will not be a problem. As far as physical infrastructure is concerned, the building of Pragati will be constructed in such a fashion that it can easily undertake its activities. As the land and labour cost are low in rural area there will not be much construction cost. Activities necessary for starting and functioning of the project : Phase wise activity Registration Campaiging Training for employees Begining of revenue generating services Begining of free services Time Frame 3 months (1 -3) 3 months (4 - 6) 6 months (7 - 12) 13th Month 19th Month
Project Milestones: By the beginning of 24th month hopefully Pragati will achieve the following targets: • • • 100 women employees in BPO Enrolment of all children in the locality in free digital classroom Enrolment of all households to FINO
Socio-economic Development and Environmental Impact: Although Jharkhand is one of the most mineral rich states, it is one of the poorest state in India with 34.83% of the state population living below poverty line (BPL) (Source: National Sample Survey Organization, 2005). The state population mainly consists of tribal people especially Santhals. As
per the Indian Constitution there are 22 scheduled laguages. Santhali is one of them. It is also the official language along with Hindi in the state of Jharkhand. The Labour Bureau conducted the first household survey on unemployment in 300 districts covering 28 states/union territories in the country for the reference period between April, 2009 and March, 2010. In accordance with the Labour Bureau’s survey, unemployment rate of Jharkhand is estimated at 27.4 per cent, which is the second highest among the Indian states and union territories. In rural areas the rates for males and females unemployment were 24.5 per cent and 44.9 per cent respectively with total unemployment rate of 29.9 per cent. In Urban areas however the same was only 7.4 per cent for males and 4.7 per cent for females totaling the urban unemployment rate to 6.9 per cent. The overall rate of unemployment in the State was 22.4 per cent for males and 42.2 per cent for females with total 27.4 per cent. Table 1: Unemployment rate (%) in Jharkhand (overall scenario) Male 22.4 Female 42.2 Total 27.4
Table 2: Unemployment rate (%) in urban and rural areas of Jharkhand Urban Areas Male 7.4 Female 4.7 Total 6.9 Male 24.5 Rural Areas Female 44.9 Total 29.9
Pragati will be an initiative to create employments in rural and semi-urban areas. Apart from providing multiple livelihood opportunities to poor families it will be a major driver for social change, digital inclusion and inclusive growth. The Indian BPO industry flourished because of the availability of low-cost skilled manpower. Now, in case of international outsourcing, the outsourcing contracts mainly comes from the US and EU. BPOs located in urban India serve this outsourcing business. Many English speaking youth are employed in this business. Because of the low-cost manpower rural area has the advantage. So, in that sense whatever advantages India has over other countries in BPO business is applicable to rural India (when compared to urban India) in case of domestic outsourcing. Pragati will offer low-skilled service like customer call centre in Hindi and Santhali languages. Since rural people are comfortable with these two languages they will be able to receive customer calls and respond to them. Most of the dwellers in the state speak in
these two languages. So, the problem of language barrier will not be there. By creating employment opportunities and digital inclusion Pragati will surely play a crucial role in environmental damage. Sustainability and Growth Potential: Pragati which is a development initiative based on 'ICT for Development' (ICT4D) theme will be completely financially sustainable. It not only has significant role to play in terms of digital inclusion but it has major revenue generating stream. Monthly outsourcing contract is generally in the range of Rs. 500,000 to Rs. 1,000,000 which is quite higher than the operating expenses. The revenue that will be generated from BPO operation, FINO centre and mobile related business will be used for giving salary to all the employees of Pragati which includes women employees of the BPO operation as well. Since the same building and computers will be used for digital classroom and other non-fee based activity there will be no expense on these. If Pragati achieves its milestone in the second year, then this model can be replicated in other areas. Besides geographic expansion, Pragati will expand its activities by staring cyber cafe, mobile repairing operation, e-commerce for villagers in the building of Pragati after 2 years of BPO operation. ______________________ socio-economic development of tribal people. None of the activities of Pragati will be associated with
Mailing address, phone, and e-mail of the first author: Roll No. 1003MPD Master's in Sustainable Development Practice Department of Policy Studies, TERI University,10 Institutional Area Vasant Kunj, New Delhi- 110 070 Mob: +91-9278690428, +91-9540223558 E-mail: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Assignment of abstract category based on the topics that are provided: Localisation of Content, Services and Grassroots Innovation
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