With a total population of 26 Lakhs, and a literacy rate of 59%, Barmer district; located on the India – Pakistan border, has seen a spurt in economic activity over the last decade due to the discovery of oil, gas and lignite in the district. However, a slow growth of industry in the region for a long period has resulted in high levels unemployment and preference for blue-colour jobs is still a reason for high migration.
Cairn India's the largest corporate operational in the area with CSR initiatives covering infrastructure, economic development, education and health. An extension of Cairn India's ongoing CSR initiatives towards creating local employment opportunities for the youth of Barmer had led to the genesis of a unique initiative named 'Samvriddhi'.
Samvriddhi is a first of its kind rural BPO in the western Rajasthan and marks the entry of Information Technology enabled Services (ITeS) in the region. It is an endeavor to create economic independence through meaningful employment for the youth of Barmer. By providing customized training, this programme aims to be a catalyst for social change and community development by creating local jobs for local youth, especially for women. The BPO is currently a 100 seater facility and has potential to employ 200 people in two shifts at peak operations. The project is a good example of a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model, wherein the Barmer Zila Parishadhas provided space for the BPO, Cairn India provided funding for the infrastructure ( set-up and initial Capex cost ) and Rural Shores came in as the project implementation partner, ensures sustainable operations. Impact Souring Service Provider /BPO partner Rural Shores independently operates the centre employing the local trained youth from Barmer.
Cairn Enterprise Centre (CEC) has played a catalytic role in scaling up the operations. CEC conducts programmes on different vocational skills including training in basic computer skills. For past one year,Samvriddhi has employed more than 50 youths from this trained talent pool. Today the BPO handlesboth non-voice i.e. basically data entry and voice processes for telecom, insurance and banking clients. Employees are also equipped to handle non-voice processes such as indexing, image tagging (for online shopping), data tagging-publishing etc.
Like most girls in Barmer, Vidya's dreams were of the ordinary kind. She wanted to work while completing her education from near-by college. She wanted to work in the organized sector but the low industrialization in Barmer was the main hurdle for her dreams. She enrolled for CEC training and made her way into Samvriddhi. Vidya sees her life moving in a different direction now. With a glint in her eyes she speaks of the change that Samvriddhi's center has brought about in her life. "Earlier we never got an opportunity to work on a computer but here I get to learn so many different things every day". Currently Vidya is completing her B.A and she has decided to work with Samvriddhi after her studies.
The partnership model of Samvriddhi delivers value to all the partners: the Impact Souring Service Provider partner like Rural Shores(scaling to new geography), Cairn India (fulfilling its social commitments) and Barmer Zila Parishad ( facilitating local job creation) . As the partnership and the model matures, this can be an area where Cairn India and other corporates may like to target their CSR funds to cater to the growing needs of livelihood opportunities in new age business amongst the local youth.