From Our Special Correspondent
Daijiworld Media Network
Bengaluru, Apr 17: Even as the country and the world is trying come to terms with adjusting to normal life post-COVID-19 pandemic scar, Karnataka’s deputy chief minister Dr C N Ashwathnarayan has believed that up to 50 per cent of the Information Technology and Biotechnology (IT-BT) workforce will have the opportunity to function from their office premises after April 20.
Dr Ashwathnarayan was speaking to reporters after a video conference with heads of the IT-BT Industry in Bengaluru on Friday, April 17.
He spoke about the measures being taken for the arrangement of passes for the workforce, public transportation arrangement, screening facility, internet facilities and other important measures being employed.
Dr Ashwathnarayan said that “It is not right for companies to shut shop or lay off employees citing reasons for not receiving new work orders or projects. Finding new jobs at this point in time will be difficult.’’
Instead, he said companies could find better ways of dealing with the situation including measures such as pay adjustments rather than resorting to retrenchment.
This opinion has found support during the discussions and companies are expected to act according to the same, he said.
The deputy chief minister also said, “Companies have expressed concerns about handling the situation in case of any employee being detected of infection post the offices resuming work and have requested suitable guidelines for the same."
He stated the companies have been promised that appropriate guidelines would be provided in consultation with the Department of Health and Family Welfare.
Companies have also agreed to follow measures such as maintenance of cleanliness and hygiene, social distancing and screening facilities in the premises, he explained.
“As soon as the restrictions are relaxed, the risk of infection spreading is high. Precautions were taken and early efforts were made to prevent infections. But we will have to learn to live in precaution against corona in the coming days,’’ he added.
Dr Ashwathnarayan said awareness among the people about this issue has increased too. “Continuous screening can help detect infections and treating such persons will help bring the situation under control,” he said.
The deputy chief minister said the companies have put forth a demand for the issue of special passes to their employees.
Offices of essential services would start functioning from the next week, he said.
State Govt will provide necessary facilities
The State Government would provide all facilities to ensure that normal life was restored at the earliest possible if the threat of the COVID-19 is contained.
“The lockdown would continue with no cab or Namma Metro services. Besides, there would be no public transport till further orders. Since the public places were shut down, there may not be special issuance of passes. But the Union Home Ministry has allowed one person in two-wheeler and two people in a car,’’ he disclosed.
Ban on inter-state and inter-district travelling will continue. The movement is restricted already due to the closure of malls, hotels and restaurants and educational institutions.
Due to the non-availability of taxis, disinfected BMTC buses can be rented for facilitating commuting by following relevant safety protocols to ensure cleanliness and social distancing as per MHA guidelines.
Bengaluru handled situation better
Dr Ashwathnarayana said representatives of the IT and BT sector praised the co-operation offered by the Government of Karnataka during this period of corona induced pain.
It is a matter of pride for us that our companies have been able to make a name for themselves internationally by continuing their work and keeping their international commitments during this period.
“Bengaluru city has handled this situation better than many other global cities,’’ he asserted.
Many stalwarts of the sector including Biocon chief Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, chairman of Vision Group IT Kris Gopalakrishnan, Prashant Prakash of Accel Partners, Shrikumar Suryanarayan of Able India, Prakash Gopalan of BSNL took part in the video conference.