India experienced substantial growth in the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector in the 2000s following a rise in demand for offshore outsourcing services such as customer care, accounting and finance. It was all due to manpower and cheaper English-speaking workforce being available in the country. BPO became one of the biggest employment-generating sectors in several Asian countries. It continues to provide unemployed youths with opportunities to earn. With no chance of getting jobs in the region, frustrated educated youths from the north-eastern part of India flood to big cities every year to make a living. Many of them end up working at call centres—some genuine firms and others, fake.
It was last month in connection with a fake call centre that the Noida police had arrested 126 people, out of which 45 were said to be from the Northeast (about 35 Nagas). The scam operating in Noida’s sector 63 in Uttar Pradesh was allegedly involved in extorting from citizens of the United States. The arrested people are still at Luksar jail while the masterminds behind the racket are still roaming free. This is not the first time that such fake call centres have been busted in the country. There are dozens of such firms across the country. The police exposed at least 25 fake call centres from Noida alone during the past six months. It indicated the magnitude of said scams. The Dimapur police too arrested several people in August last year in connection with an alleged illegal call centre operating in Dimapur, the commercial district of Nagaland. Police officials have said that recruiters from bogus firms operating in India prefer people from the north-eastern states because of their English accent. No wonder several of the accused arrested in fraud cases are from the region. Whether or not the employees are aware of scams, it is obvious that employers target youths from the region because of their spoken English skills; and many have landed behind bars. Their dream job became a nightmare.
While it is necessary to arrest the masterminds to end shady firms, it is also high time that ambitious educated youths stay away from dubious companies that cheat people. And people from the Northeast will continue to get into trouble if they do not shed their gullibility.