Centre relaxes work from home rules till July 31

Coronavirus lockdown: Centre relaxes work from home rules till July 31

Software professionals who are currently working from home during lockdown can continue to do so until July 31

Representative image (iStock Photo)

The Centre on Tuesday permitted techies to work from home till July 31 in view of the lockdown. This will require the Department of Telecom to extend the relaxation of its rules which it had done only temporarily due to the lockdown. 

Sources revealed that under normal circumstances, IT and ITES companies wanting to adopt work from home (WFH) will have to make a mandatory deposit worth several lakhs to the DoT.

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Union Minister for Information Technology and Communications Ravishankar Prasad, who held a video conference with state IT ministers on Tuesday afternoon said the Centre will decide on the future plans after assessing the situation.

Taking part in the video conference, Deputy Chief Minister and IT, BT Minister Dr C N Ashwath Narayan requested the Union minister to extend the WFH facility till March 2021. The Department of Telecom (DoT), following the announcement of lockdown, had given temporary relaxation to BPOs, KPOs and IT companies to allow WFH. .

Narayan said, “Work from home requires relaxation of various rules by the telecom department, including taxes on effective bandwidth, WiFi connectivity, setting up security protocols for the secured on-premise environment.”

The DoT, during the lockdown, has eased those norms facilitating WFH culture. We only wanted this relaxation of telecom rules and a rebate on taxes to be extended for a year so that techies can safely practice WFH.”

Dr Narayan said, “According to Nasscom figures, there are about 10 lakh IT professionals in Bengaluru. If all of them were to come on to the streets to work from tech parks in this scenario, it might further aggravate the situation.” The DCM also requested the Union minister to hold a video conference with IT industry representatives in Bengaluru to which the Union minister responded positively.

Stressing on taking Internet connectivity to grass root level, Ravishankar Prasad said, “The Covid-19 lockdown has changed the work culture, especially in the IT sector. About 80% of the workforce is working from home. Facilitating this further, the government will strengthen Internet connectivity through Bharat Net project.”