Employees in the Information Technology sector can work from home till July 31 (if their companies allow), as the government has extended the relaxation of VPN norms till the end of July. On Tuesday, the Union Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Ravi Shankar Prasad held a meeting with IT ministers from all states in which he communicated the decision.
Companies were earlier not allowed to connect the office VPN to a home infrastructure. This was allowed as part of the exemptions granted to companies, which was then relaxed. This has now been extended till July 31. Other exemptions include the requirement of security deposit and agreement for WFH facility for IT and IT-enabled services. Whether employees are allowed to work from home or when they will be asked to return to office will be at the discretion of the company.
Karnataka‚Äôs Deputy Chief Minister Dr CN Ashwath Narayan had suggested that permission to work from home be extended. During the meeting, he reportedly highlighted issues faced by the IT sector. Earlier, IT companies were asked to facilitate work from home until April 30.
During his interaction, the Union Minister said that the eased connectivity norms will continue. The decision will be reviewed in July. IT firms were initially caught unawares and were unable to move their employees to work from home as they did not have the required permissions in place.
In view of the change in the working conditions after the lockdown, the Union Minister also said that steps would be taken to strengthen Bharat Net to provide better internet facilities.
‚ÄúNot just the IT sector, all states should give importance to developing startups and research. Focus will be on providing effective E-governance and E-passes. The working of almost all sectors after Covid-19 has changed. Nearly 80% professionals are working from home. Almost all the work is done online. To help this, internet services will be strengthened through Bharat Net,'' Prasad said.
At the meeting, Ravi Shankar Prasad also stated that a national-level strategy committee will be set up to prepare detailed guidelines and solutions in a pandemic situation like COVID-19. Prasad also said that the Ministry will be preparing a digital platform to enable learning from each other and sharing of innovations. In a few days, the National Informatics Centre will be releasing an app for best practices, he said.
"I took on board the suggestion that we must have a strategic group assisting our system, state governments, (their) IT Ministers and some of the best minds of the IT profession... so that with this type of challenge and opportunity, we can leverage fresh ideas. I have also relaxed norms for working from home, it was to end on April 30, I have extended it to July 31. More and more products for Aarogya Setu app, e-pass, linkage with the district officials, all I have agreed to immediately," he said, according to PTI.
Earlier this week, Ravi Shankar Prasad said that work from home will become the norm.