Infosys is “extremely mobilised” on the GST Network enhancement project and work is progressing at “full speed” even as a large segment of its employees are working remotely amid the nationwide lockdown, its CEO Salil Parekh said. Taxpayers were facing issues due to glitches on the GSTN portal. The portal of GST Network (GSTN), which provides the technology backbone for the goods and services tax (GST), is managed by Infosys. “I think we’re extremely mobilised, working very closely with the GST Council. In fact, our Chairman Nandan (Nilekani) had met them. There’s a detailed plan that is also internally being developed, we are working towards it. There are some constraints obviously on procurement of some hardware and but as we come closer to July, we’ll have a sense on that basis in terms of the manpower deployment,” Parekh told .
He added that work is progressing at full speed, even amid lockdown situation that has forced majority of Infosys staff to work remotely. “It’s at full speed, even in this remote working situation. And we’re making every attempt to make sure all of those discussions that we were part of, we are executing upon…As of now, we have everything fully mobilised,” Parekh said. He added that there will be discussions around July to “make sure all the hardware pieces which need to be procured are fully available, given the supply chain constraints in the hardware”. Last month, the finance ministry wrote to Infosys saying some of the problems highlighted as early as 2018 are still unresolved and failures month after month lead to genuine taxpayers “getting frustrated” and asked the Bengaluru-based company to provide a plan for quick resolution of glitches on the GSTN portal.
Infosys Chairman Nandan Nilekani had then made a detailed presentation to the GST Council for the transition into a better GST Network system and the requirement of hardware to enhance capacity for addressing the system-related issues that are being faced by taxpayers in the IT system. The Council had agreed to the demand for more skilled manpower and better hardware to enhance capacity and given time till July to improve the GSTN design. Parekh said about 93 per cent of Infosys staff is now working remotely amid the lockdowns on account of the coronavirus pandemic. Talking about getting staff back on premises, Parekh said that as lockdowns start to ease off, the company will have between 5 to 10 per cent of its employees on premises. (When) things start to ease off, our first phase will be between 5 and 10 per cent, so it’s a very gradual moving back.
Even with that, there will be a lot of attention on social distancing, in transport, even in the seating within the campus, some level of partitions between seating, different usage in terms of hygiene and safety within the campus. We putting in temperature checks,” he said. “It will be in the range of 5-10 per cent in the first phase, and then we’ll see how that plays out what the situation with the lockdowns is. And then the next phase will kick in,” he said adding that currently many of its locations in India (like Pune and Bengaluru) are in the red zone classification. IT companies like HCL Technologies and Tech Mahindra are continuing to allow staff to work from home (WFH) to ensure safety of employees amid the nationwide lockdown.
While home ministry guidelines had allowed IT-ITeS companies to operate with up to 50 per cent strength from April 20, many states including Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh have continued imposition of full lockdown. Industry body Nasscom had also advised members to adopt a staggered approach and start with 15-20 per cent workforce in the first phase, and subsequently scale it up depending on the situation on ground. About 90 per cent of IT employees and 70-80 per cent of BPO and small and medium businesses in the sector are estimated to be working from home to ensure business continuity.