The Ministry of Communications via Department of Telecommunications on 15 April 2020 released a notification (“Notification”) that provided for relaxed work-from-home (“WFH”) regulations for other service providers (“OSPs”).
The concept of OSP was first introduced in the New Telecom Policy (NTP) 1999. An OSP is any company that provides application services or IT enabled services, such as, BPOs, call centers, tele-marketing centers, IT companies etc,.
The following relaxations were granted vide the Notification:
- No requirement of agreement for WFH facility and security deposit for OSPs.
- OSPs may use secure VPN configured using static IP/ dynamic IP for interconnection between Home agent and OSP Centre. The requirement of authorised Service Providers Provisioned secured VPN is exempted.
- There is no longer a requirement to seek prior permission to avail WFH facility. Prior intimation must still be given to the respective licensed service area fields units of the Department of Telecommunications before starting WFH.
Violation of these terms and conditions of WFH would attract a penalty of up to Rs. 5 lakhs per WFH location from the agent/employee/OSP. The OSP registration also stands to be cancelled in such a scenario.
There is no change to the terms and conditions of registration of OSP and maintenance of logs of activities by agents working from home. This Notification supersedes the notification issued on similar lines by the Department of Telecommunications on 13 March, 2020 (Available here).
This Notification is valid up till 31 May, 2020 and is available here.
This Notification was further extended for a period of 2 months vide notification dated 15 May 2020 till 31 July 2020 (“Amended Notification”). The Amended Notification can be accessed here.
The Department of Telecommunications on July 21 2020 tweeted an extension of the relaxations of terms and conditions granted by the Notification by an additional 6 months.
The relaxations for OSPs to facilitate work from home shall hold good till 31 December 2020.
This step was taken by the Department of Telecommunications due to the ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic. The same was notified by the Department of Telecommunications on their official website and can be accessed here.