Vizag’s IT industry navigates the COVID-19 pandemic

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Often touted as one of Andhra Pradesh’s core and coveted sectors, the IT and ITES (Information Technology and enabled services) industry is probably one of the few sectors that is faring better in terms of operability.

The work from home concept isn’t an alien concept to IT companies as many have resorted/resort to this option frequently.

Most of the other sectors though have been severely affected with many being completely shut down or operating at minimal capacity.

‘We have totally closed down. Our production has fully stopped’ stated HSL’s (Hindustan Shipyard Ltd) CMD Rear Admiral(Retd.) SaratBabu speaking to Vizag Industrial Scan. And HSL isn’t the only one other PSUs along with SMEs have either temporarily shut down or are operating at minimal capacity.

The IT industry on the other hand has been relatively less severely affected and not coming to a complete halt.

‘We have 10,000 ‘systems’ on the road (i.e. people designated to work from home). This is across Vizag’s IT sector’ stated Mr RL Narayana, President ITAAP speaking to Vizag Industrial Scan.

He says this is about 45-50% of the total IT work force in the city which is still operational/working from home which he says is sustainable at the moment.

IT industry in India on a whole I would say is in a much better position compared to some of the other countries. This is solely because Indians by nature are more work oriented and are willing to work from home too.

–Mr. RL Narayana, President ITAAP

‘The IT industry in India on a whole I would say is in a much better position compared to some of the other countries. This is solely because Indians by nature are more work oriented and are willing to work from home too’ stated Mr Narayana.

In fact some companies had already initiated the work from home option but have been bogged down by few infrastructure issues.

‘Even before the lockdown was announced we had taken the call of work from home for a lot of our employees but a major challenge has been the lack of internet connectivity. This has significantly affected our productivity’ said Ms Lakshmi Mukkavilli managing director of Patra India.

Admits Mr Narayana ‘Productivity has definitely taken a hit. Even though our industry has been agile there are few infrastructure bottlenecks which have slowed us down’ said the ITAAP president.

The industry also requires certain number of employees to come to their work location which Mr Narayana says is necessary in some cases.

Concurs Mr RamanaBodepudi of Precistat ‘Not all IT and allied business can move home. There are strict restrictions that most IT businesses have to adhere to. Compliance, security and infrastructure issues prohibit us from a total change of location’ stated the founder of Precistat.

The IT&ITES industry in AP is a significant employer of skilled manpower in the state and IT exports from Andhra Pradesh are estimated to be more than Rs 2000 crores.

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