But, 26-year-old Vaibhav Vats will tell you, it was doing him no good. His weight had grown to 120 kg and he was missing out on social life as he worked long overnight hours at a call centre. Eventually, he quit. `You are making nice money. But the tradeoff is also big,` said Vats, who spent nearly two years at IBM Corp`s call centre arm in India, answering customer calls from the United States.
Call centres and other outsourced businesses such as software writing, medical transcription and back-office work employ more than 1.6 million young men and women in India, mostly in their 20s and 30s, who make much more than their contemporaries in most other professions. They are, however, facing sleep disorders, heart disease, depression and family discord, according to doctors and several industry surveys.
Experts warn the brewing crisis could undermine the success of India`s hugely profitable outsourcing industry that earns billions in dollars annually and has shaped much of the country`s transformation into an emerging economic power. Heart diseases, strokes and diabetes cost India an estimated $9 billion in lost productivity in 2005. But the losses could grow to a staggering $200 billion over the next 10 years if corrective action is not taken quickly, said a study by New Delhi-based Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations.
Text and Images: AP
Image: `Start your call with a smile`, says a display, as H-P employees attend to overseas clients on phone at the company`s BPO centre in Bangalore.