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Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad (ANI)
Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad (ANI)

Lockdown: Govt relaxes 'work from home' connectivity norms for IT, BPO firms till July-end

  • The exemptions included requirement for a security deposit to be paid, authorised VPN, and the need for prior permission for setting up a ‘work from home’ facility
  • The Karnataka govt also permitted IT companies to continue working from home till July-end

New Delhi: The government has extended relaxations of certain norms till 31 July to facilitate work from home for employees of information technology and business process outsourcing (BPO) firms, electronics and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Tuesday.

The exemptions included requirement for a security deposit to be paid, requirement of certain authorised virtual private networks (VPN), and the need for prior permission for setting up a ‘work from home’ facility.

These provisions, made through a government notification on 13 March, were likely to expire on Thursday.

However, these relaxations have been extended as the nation-wide lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic itself is likely to be extended, especially in hotspots of regions like Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai and the National Capital Region of Delhi, which are also major IT hubs, the government has extended the exemption.

National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) and other IT officials had also sought a clear policy in terms of exemptions on work from home.

The Karnataka government on Tuesday also permitted information technology (IT) companies to continue working from home till July-end, even as it announced easing of restrictions in some parts of the state that have not been heavily impacted by covid-19.

Prasad made the decision during a video conference of ministers and senior bureaucrats of states like Karnataka, Maharashtra, Haryana and Telangana, among others.

The Union minister also asked the states to support the ‘Bharat Net’ project and requested them examine right of way issues for improving telecom network. Right of way refers to the policy of giving telecom companies and internet service providers the legal right to set up their infrastructure along a specific route and through grounds or property.

The government is likely to extend the lockdown, which started on 25 March, in areas that have become hotspots. Large number of cases are concentrated in major metropolitan areas like Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Bengaluru, among others. As of Tuesday end, there were more than 31,000 confirmed cases in the country, of which nearly 1,000 have died while over 7,700 have recovered.

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