The Department of Telecommunication (DoT) has relaxed norms for facilitating work from home (WFH) for IT firms till July 30, 2020 at the back of COVID-19 outbreak.
Earlier, DoT relaxed the norms till April 30, 2020.
This means companies can now ask its employees to work from home till July. They can also start operations with 50 percent of the work force. Most IT majors have said that the company will increase office operations slowly with 5 percent of employees and slowly increase. Others are yet to communicate to their employees.
In a tweet, Union IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “In response to IT Industry’s request to facilitate WFH for OSPs, @DoT_India had relaxed terms & conditions for VPN till 30.4.20. After discussions with IT Ministers this relaxation in terms and conditions is extended till 31.7.20.”
The further extension comes after Prasad’s discussion with IT ministers across the country in a video conference.
OSP license is necessary for companies to enable thousands of employees to WFH. However, the conditions to apply the license were challenging and the IT industry has requested DoT to relax the norms, which it did on March 15, 2020 for 1.5 months.
The company applying for license should pay a bank guarantee of Rs 1 crore per office. If the company has 76 offices, it should pay Rs 76 crore as bank guarantee. In addition, the access to network will be given only through virtual private network (VPN) provided by the telecom service providers (TSPs).
This is impossible to accomplish in a matter of a few weeks as it takes month for other service providers to bring the solution.
After this, all IT majors enabled WFH for close to 80-90 percent of their employees. With the lockdown yet to be lifted, there are concerns about COVID-19 spread.
In a tweet, Aswath Narayan, Karnataka IT-BT minister, said that the Union minister had agreed to meet the IT honchos to understand problems of the sector and announced to set up a national-level strategy committee to prepare detailed guidelines. During the meeting, Prasad said steps would be taken to strengthen Bharat Net to improve WFH.