The initial 21-day mandate by India Prime Minister Narendra Modi to lockdown the country in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus has been extended through May 3. Exemptions, however, have been made for essential services, including healthcare, grocery stores, banks, gas stations – and, IT services companies.
NASSCOM, a trade and lobbyist group representing over 2,800 companies in India’s technology sector, including many that provide important network outsourcing and computer programming services to clients all over the world, has been cited confirming several Indian states have listed IT and e-commerce services as essential and therefore exempt from the lockdown.
But these exemptions have only bought companies there some more time. Crowded call centers and other close working quarters has meant balancing keeping the doors open with risking the spread of the coronavirus – resulting in an impasse for global client companies relying on India for critical IT services.
Between the lack of infrastructure in India to support employees working from home full-time coupled with restricting contract clauses, IT outsourcing companies in India are struggling to continue providing services to their clients during the coronavirus. For those in the U.S. and in other countries who have come to rely on outsourcing as a way to supplement their internal teams and projects, this could mean “re-shoring” this work and bringing it back in-house.