NASSCOM requests for interim relief to ensure safety and security of women employees and comply with requisite laws

National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) has highlighted the concerns of the Business Process Management (BPM) Sector in NCR region and how this is impacting business and safety of its employees, particularly women. The press meet was attended by representatives of leading BPM companies in the region.

The recent ban on diesel taxis in Delhi NCR region has brought the BPM (formerly BPO) industry almost to a standstill. The BPM industry in NCR alone provides direct and indirect employment to over 1 million people and many of them work on mission critical project for global clients with a significant portion of the industry working in night shifts.

“With 38% women employees in our industry, their safety has always been a big concern to us. Moreover as per the law of the land, we are mandated to provide transportation for home drop to employees working after 8PM. Taxis play a major role in ensuring this. In absence of any reliable public transport, complying with this statutory guideline is impossible” says Raman Roy, Vice Chairman NASSCOM and MD, Quatrro.

Keshav Murugesh, Group CEO of WNS and Chairman of the NASSCOM BPM Council said, “This is indeed a matter of major concern. We had an emergency meeting among all BPM industry players today to discuss the urgent need to delay the implementation of this order. We need immediate relief as this involves the delivery of critical operations to clients outside India, half of the workforce of this industry is women, and their safety is paramount. We hope that the judiciary appreciates our predicament and resolves it by delaying the implementation. The infrastructure is not ready as on date to take on the ruling and if still implemented without careful planning around alternates, it can lead to disastrous consequences. We will work with the government, IT ministry and judiciary.”

The industry that is largely youth dominated and export oriented contributes over USD 25 billion with NCR being a major hub for operations by big companies many whom are MNCs and Fortune 500.

On an average 60-65% employees reside within Delhi and need to reach their offices in Gurgaon & Noida where the industry is located. Many cases of harassment have been reported with vehicles being stopped, challaned and delayed for significant period of time in last two days. Various companies, both Indian & MNCs have reported loss in productivity though business continuity has been invoked to ensure global clients are not impacted.

“As an industry, we are perhaps the cleanest, least polluting and most compliant. If the appropriate infrastructure like enough CNG stations & good supply factory fitted CNG vehicles is made available, we can switch expeditiously” stated Ms. Vidya Srinivasan, Sr VP, Genpact.

Companies have already taken steps to use public transport, switch to CNG but the gap is still very big to fill. NASSCOM representatives have met Delhi Police and Ministry of IT, reached to various ministries like Finance, Heavy Industries, and Environment and also to PMO to share pressing concerns about the continuity of the industry which has suddenly come under threat due to non-availability of reliable transport.

Many companies are viewing this as a death knell for BPM industry given practical challenges like long waiting at CNG Stations, limited vehicles, no technology to convert diesel to CNG, Insurance and warranty of retrofitted vehicles etc. Companies wish to comply but where are the cabs.

NASSCOM has requested for support from the government and Supreme Court on the following three points to ensure the industry is not put to risk and jobs move to other cities or countries. These include:

  • Deferred timeline for the movement of Diesel to CNG or phased implementation as per Delhi Government’s plan.
  • Exemption for employees to be picked up and dropped home during the night shift
  • Specify the permit needed by the Cabs of IT/BPM industry – challans and impounding cars creating security and safety issues

NASSCOM has been actively supporting anti-pollution drives, pro-environment moves and has been actively taking up various initiatives like Car Free Day, Active Commuting, Walk to work, Promoting use of public transport, asking for better infrastructure, access to metro station, proper lighting all of which will help in creating a sustainable and greener modes of transport in long run.

@ Technuter.com News Service

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