When Vishal Sikka took over as the first non-founder CEO of Infosys, amongst the half-a-dozen initiatives he undertook there was one that went unnoticed.
Employee identification cards were tweaked and a new technology-enabled facility was incorporated into the ‘dog tag’ — a commonly used term for employee ID cards in the technology sector. An employee in addition to getting into the company, logging into the system could also link a bank account to the card and top it up for transactions within Infosys campus.
Interestingly, almost 25 months later, this feature has come to the aid of almost 2 lakh Infoscions, in the backdrop of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to withdraw ₹500 and ₹1000 notes.
“We took this initiative as we wanted to move towards a cashless system,” Richard Lobo, Executive V-P & Head HR, Infosys, told BusinessLine .
Amidst the chaos ensuing demonetisation, not many IT companies have helped their employees to tide over this situation. Companies that BusinessLine spoke to said that they did not have anything specific to share and added that employees had to use their personal time to tackle this problem.
However, for some employees in Infosys like Dheeraj Kumar, an employee working in the Bengaluru campus, the card seems to be a godsend. “Since we didn’t have time in the morning to get cash, the money stored in the card was helpful.” Since Infosys employees’ cards are linked to their bank accounts through a web interface, they can make online money transfers to their cards, Lobo added.
Employees then went to these establishments within the campus and swiped their card on a PoS (Point of Sale) terminal, which is then deducted from the bank account. This was used in the campus where vendors do not accept debit or credit cards for small expenses.
“Infosys has shown courage and extended a compassionate hand to its employees and other companies may follow suit,” said Anshoo Nandwaani, Vice-President and Principal Analyst, Greyhound Research.
Till date, around 40,000 Infoscions all over the country out of the 2 lakh employees are using this mode of transaction. While the company did not have exact data on the amount spent, company executives said that ₹100 was spent on an average every day.ATMs in campuses
In addition, Infosys also has ATMs in campuses wherein it gets refilled two times a day- similar to a bank. In the Electronics City campus in Bengaluru, Infosys has 20 ATMs spread across 81 acres and half a dozen buildings, which house 20,000 employees.
India, currently has 53 software technology parks employing around 3.5 million people, exporting software worth ₹3 lakh crore. Karnataka exports and employs approximately 30 per cent of the Indian IT workforce.