BPO firm Aegis mulls shutting Srinagar ops, but not over Kashmir unrest

Representative image of a BPO
Business process management firm Aegis was considering shutting down its Srinagar operations, but the local administration stepped in to bail out 70 employees whose jobs were on the line. The decision to shut down was driven by the ongoing slowdown in the telecom sector, rather than unrest in Kashmir. 

Aegis' Srinagar centre currently employs about 80-90 people but can staff nearly 250 seats with an employment potential of over 700. However, due to a slowdown in the telecom sector, the Srinagar operations had taken a hit, with local media reports claiming last year that the company will shut shop. 

However, on Sunday, the Srinagar District Administration tweeted:

A #Srinagar BPO of 70 seats was about to shut for absence of clients. We've offered Distt Admn as client against commitment of raising facility to 2000 seats/jobs in 18 months. All 70 jobs retained with efforts of

@listenshahid DC Srinagar. Further expansion to follow. pic.twitter.com/PKG0KFK6X7

— Srinagar district administration (@srinagaradmin) August 18, 2019

Aegis has been present in Srinagar since 2010. Last year, when reports suggested it would exit Srinagar, Aegis had said it was talking to the local government for generating employment opportunities. 

"We would continue to serve some of the leading BFSI clients in J&K and therefore would remain committed to working with the local authorities for J&K’s inclusive growth and its highly skilled workforce," Aegis said in a statement on Monday.

Vodafone-Idea, one of Aegis' telecom customers serviced out of the Srinagar centre, reported a loss of Rs 4,873 crore and a sequential decline of 4.3 per cent in revenue to Rs 11,270 crore after its strategy of weeding out low revenue subscribers backfired. 

"Any industry (telecom) impacted from the topline will have a downstream impact on service providers," said an industry analyst who did not wish to be named. The analyst added that as internet browsing becomes more ubiquitous and customers become more technology savvy, they prefer to browse and get answers to their queries related to telecom services, and not through a call centre. This results in fewer calls and hence decreased business for players like Aegis. 

Aegis, earlier part of the Essar Group, was sold in 2017 to private equity firm Capital Square Partners for Rs 2,000 crore.