Outsourcing Heads To the Outskirts

GramIT brings tech-services jobs to rural areasand transforms villagers' lives

The village of Ethakota in India's Andhra Pradesh state hardly looks like a place that has been transformed by the Information Revolution. To get there, you take a 10-hour train ride from Hyderabad, the nearest big city, then drive an hour on narrow roads past rice paddies, coconut groves, and ponds teeming with prawns and crabs. The village itself is a collection of simple brick houses and thatch-roof huts. Yet in a tidy office shaded by 30-foot-tall palms, 50 young people sit at PCs connected to the Internet via a long-distance radio link, doing business process outsourcing (BPO) tasks such as checking expense account receipts for Indian corporations and arranging job interviews for applicants in distant cities.

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