Wednesday, February 27

Let logic prevail on BPO safety

IT Scope
Ganesh Natrajan
Deputy Chairman & MD,
Zensar Technologies

The Dastardly killings of young BPO agents in Bangalore and more recently in Pune raise a number of security issues. When a young lady is transported to and from her place of work at night, most mature BPOs take every possible precaution to ensure her safety but quite naturally every incident raises many questions. Could she have been more watchful and avoided any risk? Could the company have done more to ensure that she would not fall into danger? Could the law and order processes of the city have ensured that the crime itself could not be perpetrated at all? All this is rhetoric and discussions after the event have very little hope of any logical outcome.
The time has come for a clinical analysis of the new reality of BPO – an industry which has put lakhs of people to work and given them a future which was beyond their wildest imagination. The BPO sector in India continues to be one of the most professional and global industries in our country and through a combination of contact centre interaction and transaction processing services, has ensured that our country is spoken about through the length and breadth of the Western world. More important, it has created jobs in many cities and indirect employment for tens of thousands of people in the real estate, construction, transport and hospitality industries. The future will see rural employment get a boost as well as Tier-III and Tier-IV locations in India get the benefit of the expansion of many of the large companies and entrepreneurial firms spring up in the country's hinterland.
But what about security? Is it fair to expect that there will be a fool-proof method of ensuring that no incident of an untoward nature can ever happen in a busy work environment? Can the industry be pilloried and burnt at the stake with every incident that tugs at the heartstrings of the community and the nation? Can all the good done by a global industry be undone in the minds of an entire nation when a failure of this nature gets all the wrong attention focused on individuals and institutions? Surely, there is no single entity that can take the responsibility for security in all circumstances. Here is a call for sanity, for logic and for collaboration can the Central and State Governments, Law and Order enforcement agencies and indeed the industry itself work in concert to define what we can and should do to create a collective responsibility culture? The security and well being of every Indian and every global citizen who finds employment here must remain our primary concern but logic must prevail over unfettered emotion in thinking through and implementing the right solutions. The companies are ready but need the support of all well-meaning institutions to participate in the solution and continue the enhancement of national prosperity that is so near to all our hearts

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