(Special to MadMan’s Web)
Move over call centres and data processing BPOs. The future of outsourcing
belongs to another industry, if Indian Minister for Commerce, Kamal Nath, is to be
believed. According to Nath, the next new wave of growth in the Indian economy
will come from – believe it or not – the protest industry, now being referred to
as SPO – Strong Protest Outsourcing.
Speaking at a news conference in New Delhi, Kamal Nath briefed reporters that
he sees major business opportunities in getting Western countries to outsource
their protests to India. Nath said, "the outsourcing business is about
saving costs and increasing efficiency. Why should people in countries like USA
and UK waste their time protesting over various issues? The per-capita income is
too high to waste time on being offended. Instead, they can simply outsource
this activity to Indian companies." Asked whether Indian companies were
globally competitive in this market, Nath confidently added, "Can you think
of any country better suited for this business? India is a diverse country with
people of many faiths and beliefs. We have a rich history of being offended at
every little thing, from western expressions of love like Valentine’s Day to
what someone names their dogs. I am certain that we can be the dominant player
in this market in the next five years."
After the press conference, Kamal Nath granted MadMan’s Web an exclusive
freewheeling interview in which he talked at length about this new business
opportunity, India’s competence in this area, and the government’s special
initiatives to foster growth in the industry.
MadMan’s Web: Mr. Nath, thank you for giving us this chance to
Kamal Nath: My pleasure. This is the Internet age, and blogs are fast
becoming a powerful medium of disseminating information.
MW: Mr. Nath, could you please tell us a little more about this new
opportunity for India?
KN: The world is far from a peaceful place. Every day, there are
protests in Europe and North America over several issues. Part of being
democratic countries is allowing people the right to protest against what they
think is wrong. But protests also waste productivity. When people are
protesting, they are not contributing to the economy of their nations. So
instead of protesting themselves, they can simply outsource their outrage to
Indian companies that will specialise in this area. They can then go about their
daily lives, confident that their protests are in safe hands.
MW: Why are you so convinced that Indians are the best suited for this
KN: Of course we are the best! First of all, Indians have been
offended at pretty much everything over the years. If you’ve written a book
that’s even slightly controversial, there are sections that want it banned. If
you make a movie that tackles bold themes, you can expect howls of protest about
how it’s corrupting impressionable young minds. If you wear a female tennis
outfit just like everyone else in the tennis world, somebody will be quick to
point out how you are no longer a good member of your community. So let me
assure you, no matter what the subject of the protest is, we Indians are capable
of delivering a strong protest. Our service standards are world-class and
globally competitive. When it comes to protesting, we are the epitome of "unity in
diversity"! With our wide range of religions, beliefs, and
castes, we are champions at being offended and having our sentiments hurt.
MW: How did this great business idea strike you?
KN: If you remember, we have been making a strong push for India as
the next global economic superpower at forums such as the World Economic Forum
at Davos. Recently, when I was following the fall-out of the controversial
Danish cartoons, I was stunned to observe how competent our fellow countrymen
were at protesting over cartoons that they had not even seen. If our
people are so skilled, can you imagine how good they can be at tackling
well-known global issues?
MW: How will you convince foreign countries that there is a serious
cost-saving in outsourcing their protests to India?
KN: This is simple. In fact, I had an opportunity to discuss this with
US President George W Bush on his recent visit to India. If you want hard
numbers, consider this: The per-capita income of USA is $40,100 per year. The
per-capita income of India is just $530 per year. Is there really any reason for
an American citizen to fritter away so much money protesting issues like
teaching evolution in schools and allowing gay people to marry? Why not simply
let us Indians handle that instead? While the Americans save money by working,
we will do the protesting for them. We can carry placards, go on hunger strikes,
block traffic for hours, and even torch buses and break shop windows if
MW: Can you give us a couple of examples what kind of issues could be
KN: Sure. For example, we can protest gay marriage if the Americans
want us to. We have laws criminalising homosexuality, so it’s a walk in the
park. The Bush administration wants to promote abstinence in USA, but why spend
dollars on that? We have long been looking down at people having sex before
marriage, and we even protested when a well-known actress said it was ok. We
have proven competence in these things already.
MW: Do you really believe that SPO (Strong Protest Outsourcing) can be
bigger than the regular BPO industry already in place?
KN: Definitely! The youth of India are in need of employment.
BPO, while it has provided employment to many, also has to deal with two big
problems: training and attrition. Employees need quite a bit of training to
handle their jobs, and many of them keep switching jobs, leaving companies
helpless. But look at SPO – it has absolutely no training needs. Unemployed
people can be recruited by the hundreds of thousands, given some basic
instructions on how to protest, and then unleashed to do their jobs. As for
attrition, it doesn’t matter in the least if some protestors quit. There are
thousands more that can take their place. This industry could potentially solve
India’s unemployment problem. There are thousands of issues available globally
where the protests can be outsourced.
MW: What steps is the government taking to encourage companies
to handle protest outsourcing projects?
KN: The government is going full steam ahead on this. A committee,
headed by Ravi Ali Joseph Singh, has been formed to identify volatile issues all
over Europe and North America. Ravi Ali Joseph Singh is a veteran government
official who belongs to four major religions and has suffered almost his entire
life being offended by insults to his religions in this country. We believe he
is best suited for this new foray. We will constantly keep the press informed of
the developments in this matter. Meanwhile, if budding entrepreneurs want to
explore this new opportunity, we encourage them to contact the Ministry of
Industry in New Delhi and we will provide all the guidance we can.
MW: Mr. Kamal Nath, thank you very much for your time.
KN: Thank you.