With normalcy having returning to Jammu and Kashmir, the Essar Group's business process service provider subsidiary Aegis has announced plans to set up J&K's first two outsourced call centres in the state at an investment of Rs100 crore.
Essar says the two centres, one each in the Kashmir Vally and in Jammu, would create nearly 2,000 jobs.To start with these centres would provide services to domestic companies and gradually start providing services to global clients.
The first call centre, located at Rangreth in Kashmir, was inaugurated yesterday by J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah. Essar says this centre will start operating in the next three months while the one in Jammu would start seven months later.
The state government has leased 15 kanal of land to the Essar group at subsidised rates to set up the BPOs.
Omar Abdullah had been instrumental in convincing Aegis to open a BPO in the state after persuading industry captains in Mumbai to invest in Jammu and Kashmir to alleviate the unemployment problem and wean away youngsters from joining the jehadis.
Laying the foundation stone at for the BPO at Rangreth, Abdullah told a gathering that the government by itself could not solve the problem of unemployment but private enterprises should also pitch in to help.
"We want BPO industry to be established here, so that young girls and boys can get employment opportunities in their own state. We want youth here to get employed in relevant jobs. The burden of pressure of unemployment that we have on us cannot end by government jobs alone."
He pointed out to other states in India where technical firms have provided employment for the people and companies were able to cash in on the outsourcing business over the past few years.
Abdullah also said that with the opening of this BPO by Essar group ''Corporate India was watching keenly the Essar investments in JK and more could follow suit,'' and added that ''It might not solve our unemployment problem but small efforts can make a big difference.''
Managing director and global CEO, Aegis, Aparup Sengupta, said, ''With 32,000 employees across 32 global locations, we believe our responsibility is not just to create employment but also to train human resources and develop their skills. We are proud to extend that same opportunity to the people of J&K so that they can join India's economic mainstream.''
He also said that he hoped other companies would follow suit and invest in the state and added his company will now be able to add Kashmir to its portfolio. ''We can grow only when we take Kashmir along with us,'' he added.
Esar chief executive Prashant Ruia said, ''We are here because of untiring efforts of the state CM. We expect full support from the state administration,'' which was assured by the state industries and commerce minister S S Salathia.