New Delhi: In what has been billed as ‘a unique public-private experiment’, an Indian outsourcing company that claims Royal Bank of Scotland and Goldman Sachs as its clients, is to employ inmates at the Cherlapally Central Jail in Hyderabad to help process bank paperwork.
According to The Times, about 250 prisoners, both convicts and those awaiting trial, will carry out work for Indian banks and insurance companies after receiving training in basic tasks such as typing application form details into computers.
They will also help to process insurance claims, said C Narayanacharyulu, a director of Radiant Info Systems, the outsourcing company involved.
“We believe that about 200 prisoners at Cherlapally are already computer-literate,” the paper quoted Narayanacharyulu, as saying.
P Narasimha Reddy, the Additional Inspector General of Prisons for Hyderabad who is helping to create the prison-based business process outsourcing unit, said: “We will select only those who are trustworthy. Not every criminal is very bad.”
Narayanacharyulu added that the prisoners would not be allowed to interact with bank customers or answer phone calls.
“We will be taking the issue of security extremely seriously,” he said.
The prison project is perhaps the most radical attempt yet by India’s BPO sector — an industry built on its ability to cut clients’ overheads by farming out work to cheap employees — to control its own costs.
To try to tap into a cheaper pool of labour, BPO companies have started setting up offices in rural areas, where they can pay lower wages.