Work from home arrangements will continue for IT companies and others for “some more months” due to the ongoing coronavirus situation, the Karnataka government clarified on Thursday.
According to Deputy Chief Minister C N Ashwathnarayan, the state government cannot direct companies to open offices. “They will open up eventually when the time is right. There is no thought before the government to ask companies to make its employees attend work at offices. The situation isn’t appropriate for us to ask so as well,” he said.
Due to the pandemic, several IT and related sector companies in Karnataka, especially Bengaluru, had provided their employees a work from home/remote working option after closing their office spaces from March this year. Meanwhile, the Centre had also extended connectivity norms to enable the same till December 31, 2020.
Ashwathnarayan, who is also in charge of the IT and BT department, claimed that the state’s IT sector performed well even amid the pandemic. “Start ups and innovation have not stopped. Technology has come to the rescue,” he highlighted responding to a query raised by Hoskote MLA Sharath Bachegowda who said productivity was adversely affected in companies due to the work from home situation.
“Only seven to eight percent of the workforce is working from the office while others continue to work from home. Because of this, productivity has gone down. We should press companies to open offices,” Bachegowda who worked in the corporate sector before entering politics said.
Meanwhile, Udupi MLA K Raghupati Bhat said that this delay has affected the livelihood of many employees working in the IT sector. “With IT companies yet to resume operations from office, cabs, canteens, and others dependent on these for a livelihood are getting affected,” he said.
However, the Deputy CM said working remotely was still the safer option due to the ongoing pandemic situation. “Once offices open up, these ancillary services will also get back on track,” Ashwathnarayan said.
To date, over 8.97 lakh people have contracted coronavirus in Karnataka of which 19,206 succumbed to the same. As on Thursday, 19,206 active cases have been noted by the Department of Health and Family Welfare Services across 30 districts of the state. More than 8.66 lakh people have recovered from the infection since the first case was recorded on March 8.
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