A remote Indian village is a highly unlikely location to set up a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) unit to serve a client in the United States. But 75 km from Mangalore city lies Mundaje, a breathtakingly beautiful village with verdant paddy fields, areca trees, pepper vines and rubber plantations which boasts of a BPO unit, too. The BPO by the name “chips.ework” is based in this idyllic village and employs 25 people, 19 of them women. That is quite an accomplishment for the village that has just a school and a primary health centre. Launched as a start-up by Narayana Bhide, chips.ework’s workforce is almost entirely drawn from rural areas and the employees come from neighbouring villages like Aladangadi and Neriya.
Three of the employees have just completed SSLC and there are others with BCA and BBM degrees. They work between 9 am and 5 pm, six days a week, doing data entry work. “The BPO is an attempt to discourage the migration of rural youth to cities by providing them with jobs which they think are available only in cities like Mangalore or Bangalore,” Bhide says. Bhide has able partners in Gazanana Vaze and Ullas Bhide. Vaze, who had previously served as a teacher and officer in the Territorial Army, looks after the BPO. Ullas is a founder of Techpool Solutions in Bangalore. Both of them assert that their 25 employees are qualitatively much better than the average BPO employees working in cities like Mangalore and Bangalore.
“Though they are supposed to fill 250 applications a day, some of them fill more than 300 applications each day, says Vaze. There is no shift system at chips.ework. Bhide practised law at Mumbai for four years. His left leg was amputated in 1996 after he was diagnosed with bone cancer and he uses a German-made artificial limb and still drives his Bolero jeep with ease.
Story & Image Courtesy Deccan Herald