Young desis still prefer to work abroad'

In a move that could benefit overseas Indian workers particularly those who are in the Gulf countries, the government on Wednesday cleared a proposal for setting up of a Pension and Life Insurance Fund (PLIF) for them in the Emigration Check Required (ECR) countries.

Around 20% of overseas Indian workers in ECR countries are women. They are even more vulnerable to old-age poverty than men due to a higher life expectancy, lower income, a shorter working age and periodic interruptions in employment due to childbirth and other family responsibilities.

Under the scheme, the government co-contribution of Rs 1,000 per annum in line with Swavalamban platform for all PLIF subscribers who contribute between Rs 1,000 and Rs 12,000 per year in NPS-Lite, the new national pension scheme.

Besides, a special additional co-contribution of Rs 1,000 per annum by the overseas Indian affairs ministry (MOIA) will be made for overseas Indian women workers who contribute between Rs 1,000 and Rs 12,000 per annum in NPS-Lite.

A special Return and Resettlement co-contribution of Rs 1,000 by MOIA will also be given to overseas Indian workers who contribute Rs 4,000 per annum towards Return and Resettlement.

This scheme will provide a social security coverage to overseas Indian workers, particularly in the Gulf. The overseas Indian workers have traditionally been excluded from access to formal social security and retirement savings schemes available to residents of the ECR countries. They are similarly excluded from pension and social security schemes available to formal and informal sector workers in India.


Indians working abroad to get cover, pension benefits

There's a tinge of anxiety, but the general feeling in the Indian BPO industry is that the proposed new bill tabled in the US House of Representatives to discourage movement of call centres overseas will not become law.

If it indeed becomes law, it could negatively impact the BPO sector, but not necessarily the bigger players. The bill seeks to stop federal grants and contracts to US companies that offshore call centres. It will mandate a 120-day advance notification before moving a call centre overseas. Such measures could hold back at least some who might otherwise consider offshoring. Sameer Dhamrajani, country head, Fidelity National Financial India, said the move would be detrimental both to the BPO industry and US corporates.

For US corporates, offshoring brings significant savings, and those who depend on government grants and contracts will have to consider if the savings from offshoring will offset the negative impact of any federal withdrawals.

S Nagarajan, co-founder of BPO firm 24/7 Customer, does not foresee any serious pull back on account of the bill. "It will only increase cost for US consumers, and US corporations wouldn't want to do that" D Swaminathan, MD of Infosys BPO, said BPOs were innovating, and improving cost competitiveness, which would make it even more difficult for US corporates to ignore them.

The bill would mandate that customer service representatives working abroad for US corporations have to disclose locations upon request, and they should have option of being transferred to call centres back in US. For bigger players, this would be less of an issue as some have established and others are in the process of establishing centres in the US.

A spokesperson of BPO firm Aegis said the bill would have no implication on its operations. Aegis has over 5,000 people spread across 9 centres in the US. Over 90% of employees there are local US citizens. Keshav Murugesh, group CEO of BPO company WNS, said the company has been ramping up and opening delivery centres around the world to mitigate risks from legislation that could affect location of clients/delivery centres in a single country. "We have also been evaluating opening of a delivery centre in the US to cater to the onshore outsourcing requirements of our clients," he said. Infosys BPO is also ramping up its US operation.

Everybody slammed movers of the bill for their "protectionist" move. "It restricts free trade, it's discriminatory. Protectionism is always answered by protectionism," Nasscom president Som Mittal said.

Tags: Abroad, US, Call Centre Bill, BPO Sector, Job Trend, Fidelity National Financial India


CA Institute to ink deal with New Zealand body

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) plans to ink a mutual recognition agreement (MRA) with the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants (NZICA) in January next year.

“In its final stages, the agreement may be signed during an international conference at Chennai on January 6-8.

The MRA provides for recognition of qualifications on audit and accountancy in each other's country. Once signed, an Indian CA can become a member of the New Zealand body.
However, the Indian CA would not get practicing rights in New Zealand. You are eligible to provide corporate advisory services though.
While ICAI has over 1.75 lakh members, NZICA has over 30,000 members.

Reference: (2/12/2011) Hindu Business Line