The Ministry of IT and Telecom (MoITT) has unveiled an ambitious plan to foster freelancing by joining forces with the private sector. The MoITT seeks to develop 5,000 freelancing centers throughout small and big cities, all through private-sector partnerships, in an effort to build a vast network of support for freelancers.
This innovative program is intended to serve as an advantageous model for the public and private sectors. The strategy involves repurposing dormant urban buildings to house these centers. To facilitate this transformation, the government will facilitate building owners in securing bank loans, complete with subsidized interest rates.
The exact percentage of interest rate subsidy is currently under consideration by the Ministry of Information Technology, with financial support coming from both Ignite and the Public Sector Development Program (PSDP). This initiative aims to extend its reach to cities classified as tier one, tier two, and tier three.
Originally conceived as community hubs, these freelancing centers will be established within abandoned city structures. Here, freelancers will gain access to workspace and essential infrastructure. The goal is to streamline freelancing activities, ultimately bolstering the country’s IT exports.
Crucially, this initiative seeks to make freelancing more accessible. The current market charges freelancers anywhere from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 15,000 for workspace, which can be prohibitively expensive. In contrast, freelancers will find seats in these dedicated centers priced at a far more affordable Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 4,000. With these cost-effective facilities at their disposal, freelancers are expected to bring along accountants and other professionals, effectively transforming these centers into hubs of e-employment.
To maintain high standards, only buildings that meet specific criteria will be designated as freelancing centers. Officials emphasized that the Ignite’s DigiSkills program has already registered an impressive 3.6 million individuals. In light of this, Umar Saif, the caretaker IT Minister, has urged the MoITT to concentrate on providing a robust infrastructure for this burgeoning community of freelancers.