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India's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to expand digital projects under Digital India

The Government of India through The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) is planning to expand its India Business Process Outsourcing (BPOs) Promotion Scheme to 100,000 seats up from the present 48,000 seats. The Ministry is also set to establish the fifth and largest National Data Centre (NDC) in the country; located in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, that will be able to host 500,000 virtual servers. National Data Centre will offer government websites, services and apps; there are currently four that are operational in the country- in Pune, Hyderabad, Delhi and Bhubaneswar.  

The term Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) refers to the hiring of a third party service provider. BPOs in India offer to outsource in several fields and offer services like digital and customer support, creative design, finance and accounting services, insurance and data processing, etc. It is the fastest growing segment of the ITES (Information Technology Enabled Services) industry for both production and export.

The India BPO Promotion Scheme (IBPS) was developed under the Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi’s Digital India initiative and aims to create job opportunities for the local youth in smaller, more remote villages and to draw in investments in these areas for digital development and overall growth.

The IBPS was launched in 2014 and has since been working to incentivise the BPO/IT- ITES operations sector in India. Mr Ravi Prasad, the Minister of Electronics & Information Technology, said that these initiatives will help generate employment opportunities for people in rural India; he added that BPOs will also be launched in smaller cities, like Gaya and Gazipur so that the youth in rural areas will be able to find employment closer to home.

He stated that the Government wants to make India a hub for the BPO movement and that the IBPS has already set up 91 BPOs in 88 cities and towns. Under the scheme, 31,732 seats for BPO units that operate in smaller towns have been allotted and new employment possibilities have emerged with the potential to offer nearly 200,000 direct and indirect jobs to the country’s youth.

The Ministry has also said that the 5th National Data Centre (NDC) will be launched in Bhopal; another project under the Digital India initiative. Developed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC), the NDC in Bhopal will be able to host around 10,000 government websites.

Last month, Mr Ravi Prasad inaugurated a cloud-enabled National Data Centre at Bhubaneswar; the centre offers round-the-clock services with secure hosting applications of the Government and its departments through e-Governance to the public. The National Informatics Centre has also established other NDCs in Delhi, Hyderabad and Pune.

The Data Centre in Bhopal will be the largest in the country and according to a senior NIC official, it will be operational within the next two years.

India is quickly becoming one of the largest data consumers and so the need for data storage for apps and websites of government services has increased; thus a number of schemes like the unique biometric identifier (Aadhar), eSign, India Interface for Money (Bharat Interface for Money- BHIM) App and the DigiLocker initiative are also expected to be expanded over the next few years.

12,300,000 people have been trained so far under the Prime Minister's Digital Literacy Campaign (Pradhan Mantri Digital Saksharta Abhiyan); including the 6,300,000 candidates who have already received their certification.

Regarding the digital payments initiative, the Ministry said that the monthly the Bharat Interface for Money –Unidentified Payment Interface (BHIM-UPI) transactions were at a record high of 190,000,000 transactions worth around US $3.9 billion in April 2018.

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