It was first exempted from Industrial Employment Standing Orders Act in 1999

The State government issued an order earlier this week exempting Information Technology (IT) and a range of IT-enabled companies from the Industrial Employment Standing Orders Act, 1946, for a period of five years starting April 1, said S.R. Patil, Minister for Infrastructure, Information Technology and Biotechnology.

Speaking of several measures taken by his department to create a favourable atmosphere for IT and IT-enabled industries here on Friday, he said it exempts companies from this stipulation with “appropriate clause for protection of women”.

This move is in consonance with ‘Karnataka i4 Policy’, unveiled in October. The exemption, sought by companies and opposed by labour unions and women’s groups, has been given on the grounds that it is not applicable to knowledge-based industries.

The standing order mandates classification of company workforce with written code governing wage, shift, termination, retirement and redressal. IT anf ITes were first exempted from this by the State government in 1999 to “facilitate uninhibited global competition”. This exemption has been periodically renewed.

Surpassing state

The Minister said the IT sector, which gave direct employment to 1.9 lakh people in 2001, today employs over 10 lakh, emerging as the larger employer, leaving the State government that employs about 6 lakh people far behind.

By 2020, Bangalore is expected to become the single largest IT and technology cluster in the world in any single location and would employ over 20 lakh people. The Karnataka ICT Group-2020 report has envisaged a goal of Rs. 4 lakh crore revenue by IT, BPO and Electronic System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM).

Innovation network

Talking about various programmes aimed at encouraging innovation, Mr. Patil said Karnataka New Age Innovation Network hubs will be set up in chosen colleges located in emerging ICT centres. On Friday, nine engineering colleges were given a grant of Rs. 5 lakh each as part of the initiative to start incubation centres. As part of the National Electronics Policy-2012, eight companies were recognised as Karnataka-ESDM companies.

The Minister said that as part of Karnataka’s IT policy, his department is acting as the single-window agency to clear IT, ITes and start-ups and had special schemes for the benefit of companies set up outside the BBMP limits. He said that a ‘Bangalore First’ fund will be set up and utilised to “build credibility of Karnataka as a destination for technology investments”.

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