DoT relaxes guidelines for OSPs; BPO sector likely to get benefit

DoT had earlier relaxed the guidelines for the OSPs due to the Covid-19 situation but now the changes have been made permanently.

The order, however, said the information cannot be published or disclosed to competitors. This restraint does not apply to normal tariff packages, which are in the public domain.
The DoT is yet to come out with any notification for the next round of auction in which airwaves worth Rs 5.22 lakh crore are to be sold.
In a move likely to benefit the IT industry, primarily the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has relaxed guidelines for other service providers (OSPs) allowing them to work from home while doing away with the requirement of depositing bank guarantee, registration etc.

DoT had earlier relaxed the guidelines for the OSPs due to the Covid-19 situation but now the changes have been made permanently. As per the new guidelines issued by DoT, OSPs can work from home or work from anywhere in India.

The companies won’t be required to deposit bank guarantees to DoT. Earlier, a bank guarantee of `1 crore per seat was to be deposited. Also, no registration will now be required for OSP centres in India. The companies will also be allowed to share infrastructure. The fresh guidelines said the concept of work from home or work from anywhere shall be treated as extended agent position or remote agent of the OSP.

“Today @narendramodi Govt has taken a major reform initiative to liberalise the regulatory regime for “Other Service Provider”. This will boost the IT/ ITeS/ BPO industry and create a friendly regime for Work from Home in India. #DigitalIndia,” IT and communications minister Ravi Shankar Prasad tweeted.

The government said the registration requirement for OSPs has been done away with and the BPO industry engaged in data-related work have been taken out of the ambit of OSP regulations. “In addition, requirements such as deposit of bank guarantees, requirement for static IPs, frequent reporting obligations, publication of network diagram, penal provisions etc. have also been removed,” the communications ministry said in a statement.

Similarly, several other requirements which prevented companies from adopting work from home and work from anywhere policies have also been removed. Additional dispensations to enhance flexibility for the industry have been allowed.

The new framework will provide a strong impetus to India’s industry and will make India one of the most competitive IT jurisdictions in the world, the ministry said.

“The new guidelines are aimed at removing unnecessary bureaucratic restrictions to allow the industry to focus on innovative new products and solutions. With this reform, the government sends out a strong signal of its support to the IT industry with a view to encouraging increased investment in the sector,” the ministry added.

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