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Last Updated : Jul 07, 2020 08:04 PM IST | Source: PTI

IT companies approach govt to allow certain WFH relaxations to continue on permanent basis

Nasscom has written to an inter-ministerial committee under the IT ministry that is looking into the matter, Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) and some states on this, Nasscom Senior Vice-President and Chief Strategy Officer Sangeeta Gupta told PTI.

PTI
Representative image
Representative image

IT companies have approached the information technology ministry to allow certain relaxations on work from home (WFH) to continue on a permanent basis, as the industry moves towards a blended working model in the post-COVID-19 era.

Nasscom has written to an inter-ministerial committee under the IT ministry that is looking into the matter, Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) and some states on this, Nasscom Senior Vice-President and Chief Strategy Officer Sangeeta Gupta told PTI.

The IT industry body, in its letter to STPI, said allowing these relaxations on a permanent basis will help "companies plan their operations from a long-term perspective and undertake flexi policies to provide WFH to their employees based on their requirements".

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"While the current permissions have served the need well in the temporary context, the industry is now looking at enabling WFH on a permanent basis for certain percentage of employees especially in the post COVID-19 era. Therefore, it is needed that the current regulation should be amended to support such working models," Nasscom said in its letter dated June 26.

When contacted, STPI Director General Omkar Rai told PTI, "We are considering representation made by the industry and we will soon issue a clarification. We will make sure that the IT industry continues to work from wherever they wish without affecting any of their operations."

STPI is an autonomous society set up by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology in 1991, with the objective of encouraging, promoting and boosting the software exports from India. As many as 4,300 units operate under STPI, most of them involved in software exports.

STPI had issued a notification on March 11 enabling work-from-home provisions for STP-registered units.

Nasscom, in its letter, noted that about 90 percent of the workforce employed in the IT-BPM sector is working from home.

Given the available technologies and an impetus from the COVID-19 pandemic, IT-ITeS companies are now looking at a blended working model with both work from office and work from home as a permanent feature, it said.

Nasscom has also suggested allowing units to take-out duty-free assets on permanent basis for the purpose of WFH subject to conditions.

"As per provision...STPI units can take out laptops, computers and projections systems outside of STPI units for the purpose of use of authorised employees. However, such permissions are given for temporary period," it said.

The association noted that as companies look to adopt WFH on a long-term basis, the flexibility of taking out IT assets out of STPI on a temporary basis should be extended for such withdrawal on a permanent basis.

Such enablement will provide operational certainty and ease compliance, it added.

Nasscom has also urged STPI to allow reduction in operational area on account of permanent WFH, "subject to meeting export obligation".

This will enable companies to effectively manage their resources and plan their operations more efficiently, Nasscom said.

It has further suggested that alternatively, a minimum operational area may be prescribed that should be mandatory for valid operations.

The industry body has also sought removal of the requirement of e-way bill for movement of duty-free assets between STPI units and employees' home.

It explained that the current requirement for each movement of goods adds to the administrative and compliance burden for companies.

Further, any errors in delivery challan details, such as value and HSN code, can lead to penalty for the companies, it said seeking allowing of movement of duty-free assets on a self-declaration basis without the requirement of generation of e-way bills.

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First Published on Jul 7, 2020 07:50 pm
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