NASSCOM, based on regular interaction with the industry, has been sharing feedback to the Central Government, on the state of compliance with MHA guidelines on lockdown, status of reopening of various sectors, difficulties faced by companies, etc. .
In multiple representations to Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Commerce and MEITY, we have highlighted the below.
- Based on industry feedback and information from local government officials, we estimate that at present less than 2% of the work force is enabled to work from office. The industry is managing largely on account of nearly 90% of the work having been shifted to work from home.
- New passes are not being issued by States.
- IT employees with passes too, face problems in movement.
- Clause 14 (iii) of the MHA order dated April 15, 2020 lists “Data and call centres for Government Activities only”.
This is erroneous as data centres are part of IT and IT enabled services covered in Clause 14(ii) of the same order which allows “IT and IT enabled services, with up-to 50% strength”. Therefore 14(iii) is overlapping and contradicting 14(ii) and is cause of differences in interpretations on the ground.
We recommend that 14(iii) be deleted and 14(ii) to be modified to read, “IT and IT enabled services including data centres, with up-to 50% strength”.
Data centres are backbone of various industries in addition to Government services e.g. telecom services, healthcare, e-commerce service, IT/ITES services and manufacturing sector including supply chain for essential commodities etc and in this critical time, it is important to ensure their uninterrupted operations, so that the essential services, goods, information etc. can be delivered without any hurdles, and work from home can be enabled.
- Supply of non-essential goods: The MHA clarification dated April 19, 2020 stating that operations of e-commerce companies for non-essential goods stands prohibited means that States do not have the ability to relax the conditions. MHA may consider providing greater flexibility to the States.
We recommend that restrictions on e-commerce should be removed as soon as possible, as this will encourage people to stay indoors. However, if this continues to be a matter of evaluation for the Government, we recommend immediately expanding the scope of ecommerce deliveries to include:
- Items for work/ learning from home, students: E.g., laptops and chargers, home printers and cartridges/ toners, mobile phones and chargers, all books, stationery etc.
- Essential household items. E.g., kitchen items, bath items, cleaning items, essential electrical items.
The sellers supplying through the e-commerce channel should be permitted to access their stores / shop/ office to cater to orders received through ecommerce channel.
- Suggested amendment to the MHA for easing of essential services: The list of services provided by self-employed persons needs to be expanded. Further, it needs to clarify that operations of e-commerce platforms to facilitate such services by the self-employed people is permitted.
Accordingly, sub clause 11 of clause 14 of the MHA guidelines “Commercial and Private Establishments, listed below, will be allowed to operate:”, should be revised to: “Services provided by self-employed persons, e.g. Electricians, Plumbers, Carpenters, IT Repairs, Appliance Technicians, Motor Mechanics etc, including operations of e-commerce platforms facilitating such essential services and service providers“.