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L’Oreal Paris launches ‘Stand Up’ to tackle sexual harassment against women

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sexual harassment against women
sexual harassment against women

L’Oreal Paris is amongst the world’s largest cosmetic companies. They have been leaders of social responsibility and have initiated vigorous programs for decades. Recently, the cosmetic and skincare giant extended its ‘Stand Up’, a global anti-harassment campaign to India. ‘Stand Up’ is an international bystander intervention training program initiated to tackle sexual harassment against women in public places. It has already been launched in a few countries like France, Spain, Italy, and Mexico.

Together we can create a world for girls and women to march confidently forward into a world free from street harassment. – said Pau Gruart, General Manager, L’Oreal Paris India 

L’Oreal Paris conducted a survey in partnership with Ipsos in 2019 to find out cases  on sexual harassment against women in public places and streets. The survey states that almost 78 percent of women worldwide face sexual harassment in public places nearly every day. The survey also states that only 25 percent of the victims claim to have received help and 86 percent of the population when faced with such a situation, didn’t know what to do or how to act.

These findings pushed L’Oreal Paris to take the initiative to bring forth a training program in collaboration with NGO Breakthrough to provide on-ground training to men, women of all origins and all generations. They aim to form a community of 1 million upstanders trained in the 5D’s – Direct, Distract, Delegate, Document, and Delay.

We are very proud to partner with L’Oreal Paris to empower young people to take action for themselves and for others now and in the future. Bystanders are often not equipped to tackle street harassment and feel helpless during such situations. – said Sohini Bhattacharya, India President, and CEO, Breakthrough

Actress Aditi Rao Hydari has been roped in as the ambassador for the ‘Stand Up’ movement in India and has already undergone the training program. 

The training is not only relevant, it’s essential. I am so proud to be a part of this initiative and proud of my brand family. It’s not just for women but men too. I did the training and feel more empowered now. During the training, I realized how simple and effective it is. It will fill you with a sense of purpose and make you realize that you have the power to stop it – said Aditi Rao Hydari, Actress

The training is made available to people free of cost on the official website for the initiative named standupindia.com. It is designed so that the user can understand the essence of the training through a series of questions and videos. Once the training is finished, the user is said to have a basic idea of what to do when they undergo sexual harassment or when they see somebody experience it.

According to the cosmetic giant L’Oreal Paris, their ultimate goal is to train 1 million people by 2022 to help tackle sexual harassment against women in public places. The initiative will help people create an environment where women can feel safe in public places and can fulfill their dreams without any obstacles.

PUMA, FedEx, and SPN India are best workplaces for women in India

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best workplaces for women in India
best workplaces for women in India

One of the largest annual assessments conducted by the Great Place to Work Institute revealed the winners for best workplaces for women in India. PUMA, Walmart India, FedEx, Sony Pictures Network India, and HP have successfully made it to the list.

The institute creates benchmarks for companies to assess themselves and strengthen their organizational structure. It selects the top 100 Indian workplaces with a gender-neutral, inclusive environment through a rigorous selection process. After narrowing down the list from 852 participant organizations this year, they have created a compact catalog of the top 100 workplaces for women in India in 2020. The selection was made based on confidential employee feedback, comprehensive people policies, representation of women leaders, and an audit of management processes.

Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is an integral part of our culture, and we continuously work to promote qualified women into leadership roles and offer programs that help our team members explore possibilities in their careers. – said Mohamad Sayegh, Vice President of Operations, FedEx Express in India

PUMA India attributes its achievement to its employees, flat organizational structure, and people-centric policies. Ibethombi Chingtham, Assistant Manager of footwear design at PUMA India considers herself lucky to have compassionate colleagues who understand her struggle of being a working mother. 

Balancing work and familial responsibilities can get challenging for women. However, companies ranked by the Great Place to Work Institute ensure the best workplace environment for women with innovative schedules and inclusive policies. IT companies such as HP India, Cisco Systems, PayPal, and several others have also made the cut to the Top 10 best workplaces for women in India.

Diversity & Inclusion is embedded in everything we do, and it is this focus that enables us to drive huge business impact… this recognition has helped attract and retain industry’s best talent, and built a sense of pride in the workplace. – said Sowjanya Reddy, HR Director of HP India

The list extends beyond the boundaries of the IT and retail sectors. Leading transportation firm, FedEx, and media houses such as Sony Pictures Network and Tata Sky are also recognized in the list. After being featured by the Great Place to Work Institute for the third time, SPN India now wishes to consolidate its ‘Employer of Choice’ status among its competitors. It prioritizes developing a conducive work atmosphere that accommodates all its employees and allows them to excel in their personal and professional lives.

A few other companies featured on the best workplaces for women in India include Technopark-based Guidehouse, Intuit India, Marks and Spencer, and Marriott Hotels. Guidehouse India also addresses the work-from-home setup being predominantly applied during the COVID-19 pandemic and stresses the need to create a positive work environment that uplifts the wellbeing of its employees. 

The certification is a reflection of our strong people practices. We have constantly been delivering a positive workplace experience by creating a systemic, self-perpetuating cycle of workplace and business greatness. It keeps coming back in the form of growth and revenue numbers which has led our organization to be certified by the most coveted Great Place to Work.– says Saji Zacharia, Director-HR of Guidehouse India

The certification awarded by Great Place to Work Institute reflects companies’ positive initiatives to diversify and transform the conventional workplace from its erstwhile male-dominated condition.

Companies are increasingly trying to develop an inclusive and egalitarian workplace for employees. Their primary goal is no longer limited to the company’s performance, as they now strive to create a sustained community of happy and fulfilled employees. Policies that incentivize women and support them to excel at the workplace is a great step towards inspiring ambitious women.

9 Indian projects awarded at Architecture MasterPrize Awards 2020

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Celebrating the world’s best architecture, Architecture MasterPrize Awards 2020 announced the prestigious award winners in both professional and student categories. They introduced two programs, namely Design of the year and Architectural Product Award, to celebrate the year’s most incredible architectural designs and products.

The jury was pleased to see the winners’ creativity and exceptional work, revealing that excellent architectural design goes beyond aesthetics. The top winners are: HE ART MUSEUM by Tadao Ando Architect & Associates (Architectural Design of the Year 2020), NOCENCO CAFÉ by Vo Trong Nghia Co (Interior Design of the Year 2020), THAMMASAT URBAN FARM ROOFTOP by Landprocess (Landscape Design of the Year 2020) and THINLINE 2500 SLIDING DOOR by Styline (Architectural Product of the Year 2020).

The quality and content of projects entered into this 5th edition of the Architecture MasterPrize was spectacular! This award continues to showcase the best of architecture from all around the globe. It is an honor to present and reward this fantastic collection of innovative, cutting-edge and inspiring architectural projects. – said Hossein Farmani, President, AMP

In the pool of exceptional and talented architects, four designs from India are among the outstanding winners of the 2020 edition, and five projects received an honorable mention.

The Architecture MasterPrize Awards 2020 winners from India are: Aria Hotel by Sanjay Puri Architects – Hospitality Architecture and RAS houses by Sanjay Puri Architects – Residential Architecture – Multi-unit received an architectural design award. At the same time, honorable mentions were given to Godrej RiverHills by DADA Partners/ Studio POD/ GPL Design Studio for Urban Planning, EXCELLENSEAA 126 by Happy Homes designed by Sanjay Puri Architects for residential architecture-multi-unit, Kai Early Years, Bengaluru by Education Design Architects for Educational Buildings, The Rajasthan School by Sanjay Puri Architects for Educational Buildings and Stellar by Sanjay Puri Architects for Commercial architecture.

Architecture MasterPrize Awards 2020 jury from architects, academics, and industry experts chose one single winner from each category that received the title of ‘Design of the Year’ or ‘New Discovery of the Year’ for architecture, interior design, and landscape design chosen on the basis of design excellence and creativity, and the competition was fierce.

This year AMP also awarded ‘Best of Best’ Awards as a distinction for projects shortlisted in Design of the Year title. 70 projects, including two interior design projects from India, received this special mention. From India, Kadambari Sahu presented Sniffing out the Differences and Sanjay Puri Architects presented Office @ 63 were awarded with Best of Best title. 

Winners will showcase their work to worldwide audiences throughout the next year and enjoy extensive publicity. All winners will be bestowed with the AMP winner certificate and a winner seal. Their designs will also be featured in the AMP Book of Architecture, distributed globally, and now Winners Gallery on the AMP website.

Every artist from small to big is exceptional in its own way that needs appreciation for their work, for creating beautiful designs and comfortable spaces in the world. AMP aims to celebrate the creativity and innovation of artists in the field of architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, and the prize is open to submissions on a global level, accepting entries from architects all around the world.

Startup India scheme witnesses massive growth in last year

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Startup India scheme
Startup India scheme

The Startup India scheme was launched under Modi’s government in Jan 2016 to promote Indian startups ecosystem. According to the Commerce Ministry’s recent reports and statistics, there is a 57% surge in the number of government-recognized startups over last year. As per the reports, there were 24,927 government-recognized startups in 2019, whereas it has jumped to 39,114 in 2020 (numbers as of November 3, 2020). These startups are identified by the Department of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT). 

DPIIT had aimed to bring in 50,000+ startups, 20 lakh jobs (including direct and indirect), and 500 new accelerators and incubators. They also considered a proposal of spending close to 10,000 crore funds to increase the number of incubators and their functionality. Along with these, DPIIT had an idea of developing 100+ innovation zones in urban local bodies and seven research parks to improve the workability of startups.

Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) had committed an amount close to 3200 crore rupees to 47 SEBI registered Alternative Investment Funds (AIF) that have invested in 320 startups. These funds do not invest directly in the new companies but provide capital to AIF through equity and equity-linked instruments.

These numbers are positive indicators of startups growth in India. Startup India scheme has also provided an opportunity for the startups to manage during the covid-19 crisis.

Startups have played a huge role in bringing the country’s talent out in the best possible way. Few startups have performed well in the past and have been acquired by the top MNCs like Google and Facebook. Though the current government supports the startups thick and thin under the Startup India scheme, more incentives and additional funding can increase the success of the startups in the near future.

Top 5 programming languages for developers

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Top 5 programming languages
Top 5 programming languages

Programming languages and coding have made life much easier for everyone. From applying fancy filters to the pictures to storing entire business data on the cloud, behind each layman activity is an app. Behind each app is a developer working with complex programming languages. Coding skills have become so important that it has also found its place in the education curriculum. 

Coding skills are primarily of value in the IT, data analytics, research, web designing, and engineering segments. It’s also one of the most well-paid jobs. So which programming languages remain highly in demand in 2020 and beyond? Which language should developers learn to build a robust career for themselves? 

When people begin their careers as software developers, they tend to explore different languages and ultimately choose the one that aligns with their goals. Yet, whether an individual aims to join a corporate firm or desire to pursue a work-from-home career in programming, it’s essential to know what’s trending in the industry. Here are a few best and most demanded programming languages for coders who want to make it big in 2020 and beyond.

Python is changing the way technology works. It has been in demand since 1991. Python’s design philosophy emphasizes code readability with notable use of significant whitespace. The language is easy to learn and offers clean and well-structured code. It makes it powerful enough to build a decent web or desktop application, machine learning, network servers, GUI based desktop applications, and many more. 

JavaScript is high-level, often just-in-time compiled, and multi-paradigm. Alongside HTML and CSS, JavaScript is one of the core technologies of the World Wide Web. It enables interactive web pages and is an essential part of web applications. 

Go is an agent-based programming language in the tradition of logic-based programming languages like Prolog. It is the perfect language for engineers wanting to enter the field of systems programming. It has similarities with C and C++ except for the difficult syntax and steep learning curve. Go runs “close to the metal,” allowing for a blazing-fast runtime. It’s an open-source language, and ambitious developers can see their contributions adopted and enjoyed by programmers worldwide. 

Swift is a general-purpose, multi-paradigm, compiled programming language developed by Apple Inc. and the open-source community, first released in 2014. Swift supports LLVM (developer by Chris Lattner) compiler toolchain like C/C++, Rust. It has simple, concise, and clean syntax and proves to be more productive and a better alternative. 

Java is a class-based, object-oriented programming language designed to have as few implementation dependencies as possible. The Java runtime provides dynamic capabilities that are typically not available in traditional compiled languages. Java achieves platform independence by developing Java Virtual Machine (JVM), which took the low-level operating system from developers and gave the first “Write Once, Run anywhere” programming language. It is the best choice for developing android apps.

Almost all coders want to get their hands on new and high-demand languages. However, knowing which language is trending in the industry, along with the growth prospect, will help set the priorities straight. Five must-know languages for current or budding software developers are Python, JavaScript, Go, Swift and Java. Knowing some of these can ensure better career growth for the developers.

Microsoft confirms record breaking sales for Xbox Series X

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Xbox Series X
Xbox Series X

Microsoft announced Xbox Series X and S as its biggest launch ever, which appeared on sale globally this month. The new gaming console has managed to beat all its previous launches with its new system with no specific sales figure. Code named as “Project Lockhart” for a long time before launch, the Xbox controller also appeared online in a mysterious white box with a completely new D-pad, textured triggers, and a new share button. 

Taking it to Twitter, Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox, said, Thank you for supporting the largest launch in Xbox history. In 24 hours, more new consoles sold, in more countries, than ever before. We’re working with retail to resupply as quickly as possible. You continue to show us the connective power of play is more important than ever.

The Xbox Series X has been reportedly sold out in India, while Xbox Series S is still available online. The launch of XSX has been recorded three times more than Xbox One launch in 2013. Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO earlier expressed the new gaming console system to be the most powerful and affordable. The Xbox lacks AAA exclusives, but because of its backward compatibility and Microsoft‘s Games Pass, it is still cheap to play AAA games. Countries like India can also enjoy playing AAA games where the consoles are more expensive than abroad. 

In gaming, we expect revenue growth in the high 20 percent range. We expect very strong demand following the launch of our next generation Xbox Series X and S consoles, driving supply constrained hardware revenue growth of approximately 40 percent.- said Amy Hood, CFO, Microsoft

The Xbox Series X is smaller than a PC with a simple look. The design is clean and minimalistic. It weighs around 4.5 kg and measures around 15.1 x 15.1 x 30.1 centimeters. With vertical and horizontal console placement, the system is equipped with soft pads to indicate the right way to position the console.

Microsoft identifies revealing sales figures as a general strategy to focus on player numbers rather than units shipped, hence, stopped sharing the number of sold consoles since 2015.

While the gaming landscape seems to change in the coming years, the Xbox gaming console is the most powerful yet affordable gaming system. It is reported that the company now plans to acquire US-based ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks. It is one of the largest, privately-held game developers and publishers globally, for $7.5 billion.

Evolution of corporate culture post pandemic

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corporate culture post pandemic
corporate culture post pandemic

“Difficult times often bring out the best in people.” Around the globe, organizations are being confronted by the COVID-19 crisis to discover new ways and measures to support their clients and workplaces, and come up with a robust corporate culture post pandemic.  

When many nations have found their way to remote working, all of us are secretly beginning to see a day when we can stop working from home and head back to the office. However, in the absence of any possible solution to vaccination till date, contemporary offices’ elements would have to adjust to ensure that the employees return to their desks safely in the future. 

26% of business leaders think their organization’s “new normal” will mean more employees working from home. – according to Fortune 

As we reflect on the previous months following the initial coronavirus outbreak, there have been universal trends related to corporate culture post pandemic. Exploring these trends helps us understand the company culture and needs that the new digital workplace has to meet and build upon. 

One of the most noteworthy changes that the corporate sector has witnessed during the COVID-19 pandemic is the decline of physical offices. In the months leading up to coronavirus, there has already been a massive global change into remote working. But the pandemic has escalated the process rapidly, signaling what others have termed the “beginning of the end of the offices.” 

While talking about the future of work, new work habits and patterns have also emerged. Remote work has unlocked the way for flexibility with respect to corporate culture post pandemic, empowering employees to choose the hours during which they are most productive. Meetings have now been substituted and are being reshaped by video conferencing. Apart from that, other flexible methods and initiatives such as instant messaging will reduce the need for meetings, save time, and increase performance. 

With the organization’s transition to more remote work, identifying the employees’ essential skills would need to get the work jobs together remotely and be prepared to change employee engagement strategies. 

The way people work will be changed forever. For many of us, things are going to become a whole lot more local. At the same time, while organizations are thinking tactically now how to deal with the crisis, they’ll also be looking to the future. Senior management will be realizing the future involves more and more distributed working. Businesses now know they need to be ready to flick a switch and move into alternative forms of work at will. Businesses that can’t do this will be increasingly fragile. – said Paul Miller, CEO and Founder, DWG 

In the last few months, several people worldwide have started to work from home, reinventing themselves both individually and professionally. To no one’s shock, the history of financial services institutions has been similarly transformative. 

A Deloitte study of 100 senior FSI professionals responsible for crisis management and business continuity preparation found that at least half of the respondent companies implemented COVID-19 operating contingency plans for at least the next three months in the initial stages of coronavirus outbreak and modified them consistently to the situations. 

Some of the re-opening process’s difficulty has to do with the size and reach of FSI real estate. From the office to data centers and bank offices, the sector is also the second largest in terms of office space rental, accounting for more than 15% of the overall office leasing market. 

Corporate culture post pandemic across the globe have experienced the most significant risk in more than a decade, with a large variety of industries confronting an imminent hazard in the middle of an extreme economic slowdown – an unpredictable future despite the conflicting government signals and obstacles for the dissemination of a novel epidemic.

World Games 2022 announces disability inclusion initiative

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World Games 2022
World Games 2022

With a tagline of “A Journey to One World, One Games”, the World Games has partnered with Lakeshore Foundation and announced an initiative for disability inclusion and access. The World Games 2022 will be the most accessible edition in the event’s 40-year history.

Our goal for this program is to make The World Games 2022 a welcoming, accessible and inclusive event for all. But beyond that, we also want to create a legacy for accessibility and disability inclusivity for Birmingham and future editions of The World Games – one that will last far beyond 2022. – said Nick Sellers, CEO of The World Games 2022

The Games will be an event like the Olympics where elite athletes compete for gold in 34 different multi-disciplinary sports. A total of 3600 athletes spanning from 100 different countries will participate in the event. The Games 2022 marks the 40th anniversary of the event, which will take place between July 7-17, 2022, in Birmingham.

The initiative will focus on establishing a steering committee, enhancing accessibility and inclusion for fans, creating an inclusive and accessible athlete experience, and developing a training and education program for staff, volunteers, and partners.

“We are excited to contribute our international experience in adapted sports and collaborate with the disability community and other disability-focused organizations to host the most disability-inclusive World Games ever held.” – said Jeff Underwood, the CEO of Lakeshore Foundation

What is exciting for the ardent fans of sports is the new stadium that has been built especially for World Games 2022. The Protective Stadium will have a capacity of 47,100 and is expected to be completed by 2021. It might be the first-ever largest sports meet since the COVID-19 pandemic to house a massive audience.

The World Games 2020 will be a historic event as it will include an adapted sport. Not only will it enhance the legacy of The Games but turn out to be a commendable step by The World Games Birmingham Organizing Committee and Lakeshore Foundation. 

Indian IT sector to onboard more freshers than lateral hires

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Indian IT sector
Indian IT sector

The Indian IT sector appears to be booming despite grappling with a global pandemic. Freshers can now hope for a better shot at getting hired by some top IT companies such as HCL Technologies, Wipro, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), and Infosys. 

HCL Tech alone will hire up to 9000 freshers in the next six months due to its commendable growth in the September quarter. This amounts to a total of 12000 fresher hires in the current fiscal year. HCL also expects an average rise of 1.5% to 2.5% in the constant currency, which shall boost its revenue for the next two quarters. Lateral hiring and carrying out campus recruitments is one of the key steps in maintaining the current growth momentum. 

We have not yet finalized. We’re doing a bottom-up exercise where we ask each of the businesses what is the growth they see. Part of it will be based on form booking, and a part of it will be based on anticipation and past numbers. But it won’t be less than 10,000. – said Apparao VV, Chief Human Resources Officer, HCL Tech

Infosys has already onboarded over 16000 freshers this fiscal year and shall recruit another 15000 in the next year. Wipro, which has recently undergone a change in leadership with Thierry Delaporte acquiring the CEO role, seems to have “robust” hiring plans in the next six months. TCS is also looking forward to recruiting over 10000 employees in the US in the following fiscal year.

We started onboarding freshers and increased our recruitment globally in Q2 in anticipation of the growth trajectory. – said Milind Lakkad, Chief Human Resources Officer, TCS 

The upward trend in fresher recruitment can be attributed to an all-time low attrition rate of 8.9%. HCL Tech’s CHRO explains that lateral hires are dependent on attrition replacement. Since there has been a lesser workforce loss in this fiscal year, companies do not feel the need to make lateral hires and are inclined towards onboarding freshers only. HCL Tech’s attrition rate was as low as 12.2% in this quarter- the lowest it has been in recent years.

Massive onboarding in IT companies shows that the Indian IT sector is recovering from the financial impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. Amidst fear of large-scale layoffs at the onset of the pandemic, IT companies have been able to retain their former employees and make fresh recruitments. Companies are increasingly inclined towards hiring freshers rather than making lateral hires. It means that new graduates can now aim for a good head start to their careers despite the conditions of a sinking economy. 

Hiring more freshers than lateral hires allows IT companies to onboard fresh talent in exchange for lower salaries. Moreover, companies can train young minds to develop specific skills to cater to their particular needs. Freshers are comparatively more flexible and energetic in their professional approach. This can mean great things for the IT workforce demographics in India as well.  

Large-scale onboarding of freshers conveys a promising picture for India’s youth. Despite confronting a global pandemic, the Indian IT sector has maintained its momentum and stayed financially upright.

New work from home guidelines for BPO and ITES

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Work from home
Work from home

The government has introduced simplified guidelines for BPO and ITES to facilitate Work from Home and work from anywhere regime. 

The Other Service Providers’ (OSP) will plan for a friendly regime by allowing them to work from any location permanently. This will boost the flexibility of these companies. OSPs are entities providing application services, IT-enabled services, or any kind of outsourcing services using telecom resources. The term refers to BPOs, ITES, call centers, amongst others.

With an aim to qualitatively improve the ease of doing business of the IT industry, particularly Business Process Outsourcing and IT-Enabled services, the government has drastically simplified the Other Service Provider guidelines of the Department of Telecom. The new guidelines tremendously reduce the compliance burden of the BPO industry. – stated in the official release by the govt.

The objective of new rules is to boost and position India’s IT industry as one of the

world’s competitive IT industries. It will not only increase the flexibility of these companies but also remove unnecessary bureaucratic restrictions. The requirements such as frequent reporting obligations, deposit of bank guarantees, static IPs, publication of network diagrams, and penal provisions have also been removed.

Nasscom said the move was a bold reform for ITES/BPO players. According to Nasscom Senior Director and Public Policy Head Ashish Aggarwal, these will provide several benefits. India is a global outsourcing hub. The new guidelines will also promote outsourcing at scale, bringing in more work to India. With the relaxation in WFH regulations, companies will tap into talent from small towns and remote parts of the country. 

This is truly long term, progressive thinking by the government which will make our technology industry much more competitive. Work from anywhere has become the new reality, and thank you for seeing this. – said Rishad Premji, Chairman of Wipro 

Due to the lockdown, many organizations, mainly IT and BPO, shifted to work from home routine. The decision to make work from home and work from anywhere was announced as a permanent regime after demands made by IT and tech companies. Nasscom President Debjani Ghosh also tweeted the step as a game-changing reform and a start to a new chapter of India’s IT industry.

With the introduction of new guidelines for ITES and BPO firms, there will be access to remote working, talent, and employment opportunities. The reform will also help potential talented youth to work for the Information and Knowledge Outsourcing industry, making the vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat stronger.

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