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Permanent exemption for IT industry from restrictive labour norms

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Reported by Chinmaya Dehury

Bhubaneswar, Sep 27:

The Odisha government, which has set a software exports target worth Rs 20,000 crore by 2020 in its new Information and Communication Technology (ICT) policy, is planning to exempt IT industry from certain conditions laid down in the Odisha Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, 1956 to meet the target.

working women

The IT department has asked the Labour and ESI department to make a provision for permanent exemption of IT industry under section 9,10, 11 and 23 of Odisha Shops and commercial Establishments Act, 1956, which will facilitate employing women in the night shifts since the industry operates in a 24/7 operating module- due to time zone difference- to meet the offshore costumers’ requirement.

“The IT industries are facing serious problems in deploying women employees in different time zones. Without this exemption, the IT companies are not able to deploy certain skilled workers to meet the clients’ needs which is seriously impacting the operation and leading to cancellation of projects and contracts as represented by the industries,” said a letter of IT secretary Madhusudan Padhi to Labour and Employees’ state Insurance secretary.

The IT industry was exempted from certain provisions of the Act for two years between 2008 and 2010 but that exemption has lapsed.

Odisha has recorded about 22 per cent growth in software exports in 2012-13. In value terms, the software exports from the state climbed to Rs 1,970 crore from Rs 1,611 crore in 2011-12.

Exports by IT units, registered with the Software Technological Parks of India (STPI) and Special Economic Zone stood at Rs 1,710 crore and Rs 260 crore respectively.

The software export from the state in 2011-12 was valued at Rs 1,611 crore. This grew by 17 per cent, from Rs 1,377 crore in 2010-11.

While the state government has set a stiff target of Rs 20,000 crore software exports by 2020, it plans to attract the top ten IT developers and the five best Electronic System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) companies to create 60,000 jobs in the state.

The policy contains incentives for both the software and hardware industries.

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