What Will They Outsource Next?

by Sala Kannan

I was standing in the checkout line at Eddie’s Supermarket on Eager Street – Agora’s lunchtime hot spot. In front of me was an elderly man. He slowly reached into his shopping cart and laid his purchases on the belt. He had toilet paper, Beneful dog food, St. Ives moisturizer, milk and a tomato. My salad with extra olives was waiting patiently behind.

“They have the best salad in Baltimore, don’t you think?” He turned around to start a conversation. I wanted to disagree, but I was neither interested nor proficient at checkout-counter small talk. So, I just smiled and nodded.

I was eager to pay for my salad and get back to my Gateway to India report. Just then the man turned around and asked, “You’re from India, aren’t you?” trying to make conversation again.

“I hear your country is doing well and you’re an intelligent lot,” he said enthusiastically. He paid for his items and slowly gathered his bags. Then he waved to me and said, “Good luck to your country. I just wonder what we’ll outsource to them next…”

“What will we outsource next?” I wondered as I walked back to the office.

Lets see. India already offers some unlikely outsourced services. In the southern Indian state of Kerala, you can outsource Catholic prayer services for as little as $1. Fans of David Beckham and Michael Schumacher have already had Indian priests conduct mass to celebrate their sports victories – at dirt-cheap prices.

Praying for your soul or sports win is on Indian outsourcing’s dollar menu.

And if you are willing to pay a little more, you could get yourself a personal secretary. For just $19 a month, you can have your own outsourced virtual secretary. This “business assistant” can handle all back-office work, send e-mails, make appointments, etc.

You could even outsource a teacher for your child. An Indian company called Growing Stars provides e-tutoring services. A student can log onto a computer and, by using a virtual network and Web-cam, communicate with her tutor in India. An advanced geometry lesson costs only $15.

Honestly, I’d rather say my own prayers and have a real-live secretary. But like the man in the grocery store, it does make me wonder what else India will put on its outsourcing menu.

Editor’s Note: Sala’s Gateway to India report is almost ready. It is an in-depth analysis of four burgeoning trends in India. It will also reveal to you India’s $200-billion secret – something that has been privy only to Bill Gates and George Bush. But not any more. In her report, she is going to show you how you can profit from India’s newest $200-billion trend.