Info-tech

Ensure only mission-critical staff comes to work: Nasscom

KV Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on March 25, 2020 Published on March 25, 2020

Debjani Ghosh, President, Nasscom   -  PAUL NORONHA

Misuse of exemptions will be at the risk of industry losing govt trust: Nasscom chief

Working away from company offices is not something new for the 40 lakh employees of the IT and IT-enabled services industry. A good number of them have worked on offshore locations, onsite offices, client locations, why even from home.

However, majority of them work from their respective campuses. But post-Covid-19, this has all changed. With incidence of coronavirus spreading rapidly and several IT employees being among the first to test positive, IT companies have a tough task ahead.

Given the work-from-home mandate, securing network, meeting deadlines and coordinating with employees pose a new challenge.

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi declaring a 21-day lockdown for the nation, the industry has advised member companies to hasten the process of limiting the number of employees working from the office premises.

With over 2,800 companies as its members, the Nasscom represents the $180-billion revenue industry.

Prepare for lockdown

“Get ready for a situation where only a handful of staff would be allowed to come to office to support the mission-critical functions and operate data centres,” said Debjani Ghosh, Nasscom President.

Modi held discussions with Nasscom representatives, along with other industry bodies, and assured them that nodal officers would be appointed to coordinate with the industry.

“Also, we advise you to plan teams in areas like NCR; the mission-critical staff should not have to cross the State borders of Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Haryana,” she said.

“It’s impossible for complete lockdown. You need to have some key resources manning critical infrastructure such as data centres,” a senior Nasscom functionary has said.

The Nasscom has cautioned companies to be careful in interpreting the exemptions given in the essential services notifications. “They cannot be interpreted to be used for projects that have to be completed in the near term, and contracts carrying penalties,” she said.

“This is only for truly mission critical work, and any misuse will put us at the risk of losing the trust with the government and might seriously impact the entire industry,” she said.

“We always believe in employees-first principle. We have advised the companies to let employees, as much as they can, to work from home,” he said.

While announcing the Central and State lockdown, the governments have not posed restrictions on the movement of employees in the IT and ITeS industry. But staff have alleged that in some areas, the police have been rude and blocked their employees.

Parents of some employees are taking to social media and sharing concerns with friends about the offices of their kids not closing down or not giving the option of working from home.

In Hyderabad, Telangana IT Minister KT Rama Rao interacted with the representatives of top IT firms, IT industry associations and Cyberabad police officials to discuss the modalities for a safe and secure working environment in such times of unprecedented crisis.

Nodal officers

The Nasscom President said the association is working the Central and State governments on how to ensure smooth movement of critical staff to the workplaces.

“Please ensure they have company IDs and a letter from the company stating what work they and copy of the State notification,” she said.

Published on March 25, 2020
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