NASSCOM, India’s National Association of Software and Service Companies, has been asked to respond to calls from the country’s IT sector seeking changes to the country’s taxation and labour laws as the industry gears up to deliver more services remotely.
This, of course, is driven in part by responses to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In fact at a meeting with government officials earlier this month, IT industry leaders estimated that close to half of the country’s 4.3 million IT workers will soon work from home. NASCOMM has been asked to put together a detailed report for a number of ministries, looking at the legislative changes required to make this happen. It plans to send a report to the government by next week.
There are a lot of considerations to be taken into account, including hours worked, pensions, employee rights, health and safety, connectivity and changes to labour laws. The IT industry has also asked the government to make permanent several recent concessions, including relaxation of telecommunications regulations to allow back-office companies to work from home and move equipment out from designated special economic zones to facilitate remote working.
The need is no doubt urgent. Many IT companies expect much greater numbers of staff to be working remotely in the coming years, but working at home can also have downsides – some less predictable than others.
As the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has noted, a number of consumers have experienced bill shocks when they joined online conferencing platforms and contacted the platform’s customer care centre. The customer care centres of some service providers are either premium numbers or expensive international numbers.