Philanthropic outsourcing

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No, this is not a post about Warren Buffet paying Bill Gates to spend his money – but one about B. Ramalinga Raju. Raju is the owner of one of those Indian outsourcing companies which have received considerable ire here in the US. Using some of the same logic of the Western firms who outsource their work to India, he has started a program with his Byrraju Foundation to outsource some of his company's own work with a pro-poor twist:

It funds the startup costs of setting up new data processing centers in the hinterlands and intends to turn over ownership to each center's employees a few years later. This altruistic effort also offers a profit motive for his company. Satyam, by farming out back-office work to the countryside, will sidestep the higher costs of Hyderabad.

"Satyam's savings are significant," Raju says, "as much as a U.S. company would save by outsourcing work to India." His bigger motivation, however, is to bring middle-class hopes to India's poverty-stricken villages.

…"This isn't philanthropy--it's development." Choudary says. "They're earning seed capital and chiseling their own fortunes." Each GramIT job generates as much revenue as 5 acres of good land. With a hundred people now employed at the site in Jallikakinada, he adds, "It's like we've created 500 acres."

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