United States call centre bill to hit Indian BPOs

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New Delhi, Dec 21: A call centre bill has been tabled in the US House of Representatives, which demands barring of US call centres operating in nations like India seeking federal grants or loans for five years.

Sources said that the new bill may affect the current growth of the Indian BPO sectors. It is also learnt that the Indian BPO market has been running in a huge loss of 14-billion dollar due to a slowdown in U.S markets and tight competition from other locations.

"It's clearly a protectionist bill. Though, none of the Indian call centres apply for a US federal loan or grant, it will impact everybody if it is passed. The likelihood of bill to pass is very low," said Ameet Nivsarkar, Vice President, Global Trade and Development at Nasscom.

Reports said that, if the proposed bill is passed, it will also penalise US call centres with a penalty of $10,000 per day, for failing to report a relocation to an offshore location, within 60 days to the US Department of Labor.

The call centre bill was introduced by Rep Tim Bishop and Rep David McKinley under the US Consumer Protection Act supported by the Communications Workers of America (CWA), a union which represents 150,000 call centre workers in the US.

It was also reported that CWA alleged that outsourced call centres, including some based in India, pose serious security threat as there are insufficient safeguards in place to deter fraud.

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