Rural graduates turn a new leaf

Friday, July 25, 2008

Salma Sultana’s rural and orthodox background hardly came in her way of becoming a processor in a BPO. Hailing from Muthukuru mandal of Nellore district, K. Sudheer, her peer, shouldered the job responsibilities with a great flourish.

It’s a metamorphosis for the likes of Salma and Sudheer from BOP (bottom of the pyramid) to BPO (business process outsourcing), when HDFC Bank picked them up for the challenging assignments, thanks to the customised training imparted by the Employment Generation and Marketing Mission (EGMM), an arm of the Rural Development Department.

With their family status improving, income levels moving northwards and caste barriers vanishing, these young men and women are able to fend for their siblings’ education or to create an asset in the households. Graduates from underprivileged families in rural areas, trained by the EGMM, are now hotcakes for multi-national companies to work in their rural BPOs.

Till six months ago, HDFC Bank faced a problem in selecting right candidates for its rural operations. But today, the bank is more than satisfied by the setting up of its first rural BPO in Nellore with the EGMM-trained manpower.

The simple non-voice based operations like scanning and data processing work that are transferred to its BPO in Nellore is completely handled by 325-strong workforce.

The bank officials, who had their own reservations on the Nellore operations, went a step forward to setup its second BPO in Tirupati. Its operations, to be handled by a 1,500-strong workforce, will commence on Friday.

Executive Director of EGMM Meera Shenoy says: “Partnering HDFC Bank was exciting, since the bank shared our passion of focusing only on the rural poor and mainstreaming them into white collared local jobs in their BPO.”

Hemanth, Head, Human Resources, ADFC, the phone banking division of HDFC Bank, Mumbai, admitted that he was apprehensive about the quality of manpower trained by the government institutions. “But after conducting the interviews, I was amazed to see the candidates’ confidence, grooming and English standards,” he remarked.

A content Salma said: “People’s age-old views on girls like me working have changed now.”

The BPO job came in handy for Sudheer to supplement the income of his father, a farm labourer, in sending his younger siblings to school.

Source: The Hindu