ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The COVID-19 Pandemic and the Formal Sector Crisis in IT and ITeS

The information technology and information technology-enabled services sector in India have largely been opaque, with little known about its social profile, work conditions, and office culture. The sector hides its everyday workings behind massive revenue figures and the number of jobs in the organised sector it has created. What slips through the cracks is the precarious nature of these permanent jobs and the shocking ineffectiveness of employee protections. These vulnerabilities, built into the employment and work culture of the sector, acquired a nightmarish quality during the COVID-19 pandemic. With most IT companies being forced to shift their employees to work-from-home formats, it is crucial to study how these vulnerabilities have affected the latter. This paper draws upon media reports, a short online survey, and telephonic interviews to highlight the working conditions in the IT and ITeS sector, the experience of working from home, and the overall state of its permanent employment.


“Can you help me?” asked Mohun—a 36-year-old father of two—after having been instructed by human resources over WhatsApp not to come to the office in March 2020. He was informed that the company intended to halt some operations, and hence, he should not report to work as yet. The situation remained unchanged well into June 2020. Mohun received neither a termination letter nor a notice, and his last salary credited was for March. He had to break into his Public Provident Fund (PPF) savings to pay his equated monthly instalments (EMIs) in order to keep his family afloat.

“I do not understand how can this happen to me. I’m no contract worker. I am a senior manager.” he stresses. This story is not his alone.

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Updated On : 4th Apr, 2022
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