March 24, 2020

DELHI/WASHINGTON – As the Indian government responds to COVID-19, several technology trade associations are urging Indian officials to ensure that information and communications technology workers can continue to perform their essential work during shelter-in-place orders.

In a letter to several government officials, led by global tech trade association Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), ITI and the other associations underscore that companies in IT services, e-commerce services, communication services, and ICT infrastructure support services are a critical part of the success of shelter-in-place and other coronavirus response measures -- allowing students to engage in distance learning, families to stay connected, businesses to continue operating, and enabling the delivery and pick-up of groceries, medical supplies, household staples, and other essential items.

“Tech companies and the IT industry globally are supporting (by providing various products and services) health care providers, educational institutions, first responders, the pharmaceutical industry, all levels of government, and countless others responding to the coronavirus,” the associations wrote. “The ability to stay connected and communicate in real time is a critical part of ongoing response efforts, and any material disruption to or closure of operations could severely impact the IT industry’s ability to support these mission-critical endeavors. To help ensure the continuity, stability, and cybersecurity of these services, any government’s list of essential business exemptions should include the companies that provide these products and services, and the companies that support them.”

The technology associations asked the government to clearly define the following services as essential during lockdown situations and therefore be allowed to function with proper hygiene standards and precautions:

  • Telecom services and equipment manufacturing factories, network operations centers, internet services including IT and ITES;
  • E-commerce services and their warehouses and agents working for delivery of essential items; and
  • ICT infrastructure support services including supply of hardware and software products.

The letter was sent to officials throughout the government, including the Cabinet Secretary, and Secretaries of the Ministry of Electronics and IT, Ministry of Commerce, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. It also went to State Chief Secretaries across the country.

Signees of the letter include: Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), and the Manufacturers’ Association for Information Technology (MAIT).

Read the full letter here or below:

March 23, 2020

Our associations represent technology companies from India and around the world that are committed to working with the government to respond to the threat posed by COVID-19. We write today to respectfully ask that you include the critical functions performed by Digital services including IT Services, E-Commerce Services, Communication Services, ICT Infrastructure Support Services including supply of Hardware and Software Products as critical supporting industries when drafting any shelter-in-place orders’ essential business exemptions.

Tech companies and the IT industry globally are supporting (by providing various products and services) health care providers, educational institutions, first responders, the pharmaceutical industry, all levels of government, and countless others responding to the coronavirus. The ability to stay connected and communicate in real time is a critical part of ongoing response efforts, and any material disruption to or closure of operations could severely impact the IT industry’s ability to support these mission-critical endeavors. To help ensure the continuity, stability, and cybersecurity of these services, any government’s list of essential business exemptions should include the companies that provide these products and services, and the companies that support them.

These companies are a critical part of the success of shelter-in-place and other coronavirus response measures. Digital services allow students to engage in distance learning, families to “visit” without leaving their homes, and businesses to continue operating as seamlessly as possible. Similarly, the delivery and pick-up of groceries, food and drinks, medical supplies, household staples, and other important items allow citizens to remain at home while still keeping those channels of critical goods flowing to consumers, as well as giving local businesses the ability to stay open and serve customers.

In order to maintain safety, we seek that the government in its advisories clearly defines the following services as essential and therefore be allowed to function with proper hygiene standards and precautions.

List of services to be included as essential during lockdown:

  • Telecom services and Equipment Manufacturing factories, Network Operations Centers, Internet services including IT and ITES;
  • E-commerce services and their warehouses and agents working for delivery of essential items; and
  • ICT Infrastructure Support Services including supply of Hardware and Software Products.

The employees working towards the above-mentioned services and their support staff should also be allowed to work with self-certifications and company identity cards.

Thank you for your leadership in addressing the global threat that COVID-19 presents to citizens and businesses. We look forward to continuing to work with you in any way we can to support your abilities to maintain health and safety throughout each community.

Signed,

Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI)

Information Technology Industry Council (ITI)

Manufacturers’ Association for Information Technology (MAIT)

Public Policy Tags: Coronavirus Response