The Centre on Wednesday announced exemption to the information and technology (IT) industry, along with certain other sectors from the lockdown, with certain conditions. As per an order by the Ministry or Home Affairs, IT and IT-enabled services with 50 per cent strength can start work from April 20.
Further, the suspension has also been lifted from industries in IT hardware manufacturing companies. Players in the IT sector have welcomed the move and are also of the view that their business strategy would also need to be changed in the current scenario.
Neelesh Kripalani, Senior Vice President and Head, Center of Excellence (CoE) at Clover Infotech, said that due to the social distancing and lockdown being witnessed in almost all countries of the world, the demand for moving business-critical workload to the cloud is on the rise. Workloads on the cloud can be easily accessed and managed across the organisation.
“This is an apt time for businesses to move their application and the underlying infrastructure to the cloud and reap the benefits of increased speed, efficiency and agility. This gives businesses the assurance that their core application and operations are functioning seamlessly,” he said.
Parag Naik, Co-Founder and CEO, Saankhya Labs, said that the very first priority should be to ramp up investments in the telecom and electronic equipment industry.
“We should not just look at investments from MNCs, however, the government should focus on making policies that encourage local SMEs and MSMEs to ramp up investments.”
This can be done by incentivizing these companies to build a local ecosystem, he said.
“Apart from the setting up of factories and manufacturing units, the need of the hour is to invest in innovation. Countries like China and US dominate the market because they have a large bank of IPs. If India has to compete on the global scale, we have to ramp up domestic innovation. We have a great demographic dividend and we can certainly use it to innovate and build an IPR regime,” Naik said.
On the decision to partially lift the restrictions on the IT hardware industry, MAIT, the industry body for information and communications technology, said that the decision was the need of the hour as the country would have to turn towards imports to satisfy its domestic demand.
Nitin Kunkolienker, President, MAIT said: “This move was the need of the hour as all digital and communication highways are built using electronic and ICT products. This was extremely essential as all utilities need these products otherwise imports would have catered to this pent up demand for ICT products estimated at $2.5 billion per month.”
MAIT had been urging the government to include manufacturing, sales, and servicing of ICT products, including mobile phones in essential services at a time when reliance on such products and services has increased due to the lockdown.