State seeks work from home extension for IT sector till March 2021

While the Centre on Tuesday gave permission for IT professionals to work from home till July 31, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister C.N. Ashwath Narayan mooted extending work from home (WFH) for IT/BT sector until March-end, 2021.

This came up for discussion during a videoconference by the Union Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Ravi Shankar Prasad with all State IT Ministers.

Responding to Mr. Narayan’s suggestion that WFH be extended till next year, the Union Minister for now has granted it till July 31, 2020 while promising to take a call on further extension after assessing the situation in July. At the meeting, Mr. Narayan explained the problems faced by the IT sector due to lockdown, the solutions found, and steps taken by the State.

The Union Minister agreed to a suggestion to hold a videoconference with the top IT industry leaders to understand the problems faced by the sector. He also commended Karnataka’s online health services noting that there has been an improvement in online services after the pandemic breakout.

Apthamitra helpline

Mr. Narayan explained how the State government has been successful in using technology to provide education and other essential services. More than 500 professionals are working at the Apthamitra helpline, and receive at least 50,000 calls on an average every day. As an alternative to e-commerce, Apthamitra helpline provides all essentials, including groceries and medicines to people's doorsteps in red zones.

Strategy committee

Mr. Prasad also announced the setting up of a national-level strategy committee to prepare detailed guidelines and solutions in a pandemic situation like COVID-19. “Not just the IT sector, but all States should give importance to developing startups and research. The focus will be to provide effective e-governance and e-passes. Nearly 80% of professionals are working from home. To help this, Internet services would be strengthened through Bharat Net,” Prasad said.

The heading in the earlier version of the copy went with the wrong year. It has been corrected.

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Printable version | Aug 7, 2020 9:50:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/state-seeks-work-from-home-extension-for-it-sector-till-march-2021/article31456415.ece

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