SHILLONG: The Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Centre for Policy Research & Analysis under the aegis of IIM Shillong today hosted an e-symposium on "Emergent North-East India: Strategic and Developmental Imperatives – The BPO Sector".
Chairman of the Board of Governors, IIM Shllong Shishir Bajoria while welcoming the participants said, "Looking at the Northeast, the proficiency in English and the much needed accent in the large part of the youth is of great advantage especially in voice BPO sector. In 2015, the India BPO Promotion Scheme and the NE BPO Promotion Scheme were launched under Digital India to steer the BPO movement to smaller towns to create employment opportunities and to create local entrepreneurship."
Addressing the e-symposium as chief guest Chief Minister of Meghalaya Conrad Sangma remarked, "It is a very timely program that is being held, and despite the kind of situation that we are in, this is something very positive."
Speaking on the Economic Task Force headed by him, Sangma said, "The task force was meant to bring out the different opportunities that could come out of because of the COVID situation and how Meghalaya in particular should adapt to this situation to be able to take advantage. When I look at what we had started and this symposium happening at this point of time, I think the timing is perfect."
Further speaking on the BPO Sector he said, "We all know that this sector has great potential in the Northeast, and frankly speaking I have experienced this first hand, including the challenges, and what an entrepreneur has go to through in a sector like this given the lack of infrastructure."
He also spoke at length regarding the initiative of setting up a full-fledged IT Park in Meghalaya on an earmarked land of around 70 acres during his tenure as IT, Finance & Tourism Minister in 2008 so as to give the sector the deserved push to realize its potential by encouraging companies who want to set up business to take up lease within the provided space, which was again revived after his resuming charge of the government in 2018.
He was hopeful that the infrastructure, with more than 3000 seats would be made ready for use by interested parties by the end of financial year.
He further added, "It is not only about manpower which is a natural advantage for us, but it is about the ecosystem as a whole, wherein connectivity is a real issue of contention. With due incentive given to the private sector, from the point of view of air connectivity, we are looking forward to the upgrade in the ecosystem as required."
He also shared on his interactions with Hon'ble Prime Minister about the concept of having sister state relationship and partnership, an idea which he strongly felt could bring about paradigm change if a bigger state could work in tandem with a smaller state on areas of strength and mutual benefit, citing the example of Govt. of Meghalaya's talk with the Telangana Govt. to work on such grounds of relation especially in areas of IT capacity.
Member of the Board of Governors, Shri Nitin Sharma while speaking during the technical session opined, "20 to 25 years before, BPO meant call centres, but things are now continuously changing. A lot of new trends have come into the picture where a region like NER is trying to find out its own place."
Presenting the valedictory address, Union Minister of State for HRD, Communication, Electronics & IT Sanjay Dhotre said, "The hardworking nature of the people of Northeast, coupled with high level of literacy, and excellent soft skills have made its people to be much in demand in all metros of the country. The BPO word is an important part of digital economy and employment, but as we are moving up the IT value chain we also need to keep our eyes on other opportunities."
Speaking on Digital India campaign under the leadership of the Prime Minister, Dhotre added, "It was for creation of skilled manpower, necessary technological ecosystem, digital infrastructure, and identification of areas where a common man can be benefited. It is for creation of a government system that is simplified, accessible, affordable, equitable, inclusive, and where a common man can connect easily with technology. It has given us massive benefits," while highlighting the various developments throughout the country that have so far been achieved under the campaign.
He also spoke of data, talent, innovation, market and right regulatory flavour that balances innovation, growth, security and inclusion as key building blocks of digital economy, while also mentioning Govt. of India's vision document for Digital Northeast 2022 launched in August 2018 wherein one of the initiatives is digital innovation and start-ups, which includes setting up of centres of excellence in all the eight states of NER.It may be mentioned that the entire conduct of the e-symposium was streamed live through facebook and twitter handles of the Institute.
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