With work from home (WFH) continuing for employees in the information technology sector, Maharashtra is mulling to create “nodal centres” on the lines of co-working spaces in smaller cities and towns, from where software professionals can work for their respective companies, a minister has said. The state, which is home to the IT hub in Pune and also has a presence of enterprises in other pockets like Mumbai, Nagpur and Nashik, has invited suggestions from the industry for an “inclusive IT policy,” Minister of State for IT Satej Patil has said.
Almost the entire IT staff has been in the WFH mode since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020 and companies have been saying that the future will have a hybrid model, where a good part of the employees continue working from offices. A lot of the work done by IT professionals is for critical sectors like finance, where privacy concerns and data confidentiality are important, which also forced a few of the professionals to continue working from offices even during the lockdowns.
"We are also planning to start government-run well-equipped nodal centres where IT employees can come and work for their respective companies. All ideas are welcome in this regard," Patil said in a tweet on September 7, responding to suggestions made by billionaire Anand Deshpande, the Founder Chairman of Pune's Persistent Systems. Major cities, including those in the state, have co-working spaces like WeWork since before the pandemic as well which typically help workers from diverse companies and sectors to help from dedicated spaces.
Patil said the government is trying its best to promote IT in tier 2 and tier 3 cities. He appealed to industry lobby groups Nasscom and the Software Export Association Pune (SEAP) to come forward with help on creating district-wise databases suggested by Deshpande.
"Mumbai and Pune have been leading in the IT sector and have been saturated due to migration to these cities. We now want to take this progress to tier 2 and 3 cities like Nagpur, Satara, Amaravati, Latur, Nanded and others by giving incentives to the industries. The industries will be incentivised with various facilities through a separate IT policy," Patil had said recently. A statement from Patil later said SEAP and Nasscom have responded positively to the appeal with suggestions.
"With hybrid work systems becoming a reality, our focus lies on ensuring equitable collaboration and access for all, regardless of location," Nasscom said in reply to a tweet from Patil. SEAP Vice-President Vidyadhar Purandare said the focus should be on tier 2 and tier 3 cities taking the growth forward.
"This has to be in addition to enhancing infrastructure at existing IT hubs, to make them more attractive destinations. "SEAP would be happy to work closely with the state government. A nodal agency to collect and collate data points is the need of the hour," Purandare said.
(Edited by : Shoma Bhattacharjee)