The truth about Outsourcing in India

The truth about Outsourcing in India

The outsourcing deals have got murkier and murkier. There was a recent article in The Statesman which says that outsourcing in US is moving towards its rural areas. This has brought the whole debate in sharp focus all over again. With regards to my earlier post, Is India an IT superpower, I regret to spoil the party. There have been media reports that call centers are facing a big problem in recruiting willing graduates.

The primary reason is the burn out syndromes being forced to adopt unnatural sleep patterns. The hordes of the companies know that the attrition rate is the highest in their sector, yet they persist with the glorified idea that there would be willing graduates in hordes to join them. Indeed this had given rise to a parallel trend. Certification companies cropped up. Trainers out of the blue jumped in the fray. This was widely reported in the media, as they have nothing else to do. Accent neutralization became the catchword.

However, the fact remains that nationalism would always over rule business sense. In any case, the Indians sitting here, speaking in unnatural accent was a target for the companies who hired them. I know of certain first hand accounts across US who were fed up with their calls being outsourced to India. Partly because the dingbats these companies hire. They were not up to the job. Partly because of the accent that made it difficult for the person on the other line to understand. Would it be possible to accept an American trained in Malayalam or Kannada to be able to interact with regional customers in the same manner? How do you expect Indians to interact with them in their own slangs? It does not sound logical to me at all.

If this is not a sufficient proof then what else is? This is nothing but cyber collies. Nike does it. It hires independent contractors across the developing world. Sweatshops and underpaid labor is hired to churn out the shoes for them. The same are imported in bulk and sold at astronomical margins. Why so? They are not liable in any way to the ones who make the shoes for them. No employee benefits. No insurance. Nothing. Just plain profits. What is the difference between these companies and the Multinationals? Isn’t this called as exploitation of labor?

Leading from the front is the apex union called as NASSCOM. What in effect these people should do is create a better infrastructure for the people via broadband networks. There is a huge potential for outsourcing within India itself. Why should we work for the American companies at any rate? Especially when there is a huge differential of prices being paid to equivalent worker there and in India. This is what I do not get to hear about that NASSCOM has lobbied for Indian interests. Keeping up with the debate these naïve policy makers should realize that in effect we are sitting over a potential time bomb. What if the outsourcing contracts should disappear and relocated to other better offshore destinations? The fancy price tags paid to the data entry operators would just vanish. Given the inadequate protection by law and the absence of any union among the poor exploited souls, none would be answerable to the policy lapses. This could also mean that the infrastructure created to support the vast army of morons, would go waste. Unless of course you wish to burn that down.

This is indeed unfortunate that the current level of debate in this country, specifically in the popular media, borders on the insane. Leading newspapers like Times of India has tabloidised (so as to say) their entire operations. They were the ones to cover the Call Centre jobs giving it an air of something tangible. However, the misuse of its reach is another story.

What is the way out? I suggest that broadband be unleashed and taken out of the clutches of BSNL for good. A healthy broadband can accelerate the outsourcing to the rural areas. Generate employment and increase the literacy levels overall. I am deeply circumspect of the powers that be who have nothing to loose and comfortably sitting in their plush offices. Are they aware of what a common man has to undergo to access the electronic resources?

What all these companies have done anyway for India? If Infosys and Wipro are so good, why don’t we see any India specific Operating systems? I am glad that they have made enough money selling services to the MNC’s. Despite the media posturing and its blue-eyed boys, they owe much more to this country.

One needs to look beyond what is obvious or the reality.

This post was submitted by Dr. Abhishek Puri on Techwhack.

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