India's business process management or BPO sector will suffer a potential loss of $1 billion if the ban on diesel taxis in Delhi-NCR continues for another 2-3 weeks, industry body Nasscom said on 4 May.
"There will be a potential $1 billion loss to the business process management (BPM) sector if ban on diesel cabs continues for 2-3 weeks," Nasscom senior vice president, Sangeeta Gupta said.
Nasscom, which is seeking a delay in implementation of the ban, also plans to approach the Supreme Court in the next couple of days on the matter.
Nasscom representatives have already met Delhi Police and various central ministries, including the Ministry of Information Technology, and discussed issues facing the industry in the wake of the ban on diesel cabs in Delhi-NCR, resulting in non-availability of reliable transport options.
"We have met the Ministry of Information Technology, and requested them to champion this across other ministries. Separately, we have also written to Heavy Industries Ministry, Transport and Environment Ministries, Delhi Police and Delhi Government," she added.
In what chat could be an end of the road situation for diesel taxis in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR), the Supreme Court last week refused to extend the 30 April deadline affixed for their conversion into a less-polluting CNG mode.
How the BPO industry is affected
The ban on diesel taxis in the region has brought the BPM (formerly BPO) industry almost to a standstill.
The BPM industry in NCR provides direct and indirect employment to over 1 million people.
"With 38 per cent women employees in our industry, their safety has always been a big concern to us...we are mandated to provide transportation for home drop to employees working after 8PM. In absence of any reliable public transport, complying with this statutory guideline is impossible," said Raman Roy, vice chairman Nasscom and MD of Quatrro Global Services.
There are five hours of downtime in the last two days because of the ban and about 35 cabs are impounded and 20 cabs already challaned, he said, adding that parking is becoming an issue as employees are coming in their own vehicles.
An emergency meeting was also called by Nasscom on Wednesday. It was attended by all players of the BPM industry and the ban's implementation was discussed.
"We need immediate relief as this involves the delivery of critical operations to clients outside India... We hope the judiciary appreciates our predicament and resolves it by delaying the implementation," said Keshav Murugesh, group CEO of WNS and chairman of the Nasscom BPM council.
The industry is largely youth dominated and contributes over $25 billion - with the NCR being a major hub - to operations by companies. On an average, 60-65 per cent employees reside within Delhi and need to reach their offices in Gurugram and Noida where the industry is located.
Nasscom added that many cases of harassment have been reported, with vehicles being stopped, challaned and delayed for a significant period of time in the last two days.
Various companies, both Indian and MNCs, have reported loss in productivity though business continuity has been invoked to ensure global clients are not impacted, the industry body added.
"As an industry, we are perhaps the cleanest, least polluting and most compliant. If the appropriate infrastructure like enough CNG stations and good supply factory fitted CNG vehicles is made available, we can switch expeditiously," said Vidya Srinivasan, senior VP at Genpact.
The industry body is seeking a deferred timeline for the movement from diesel to CNG or phased implementation as per the Delhi government's plan, exemption for employees to be picked up and dropped home during the night shift and specify the permit needed by the cabs of IT/BPM industry.
-With PTI inputs