Minister bats for larger space between seats in IT firms

Hyderabad, Apr 30 (PTI): Telangana Minister for IT and Industries KT Rama Rao on Thursday urged the Centre to regulate seating space in IT companies to ensure that each of their employee has 100-125 sq ft of space.

This request to the Centre comes in the wake of social distancing norms in force since the COVID-19 spread.

Rao, in a letter to IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, said, 'A lot of IT/ITES units are operating in tightly packed environments wherein the average square feetper employee in some cases is less than 80 sq ft per employee.' In the USA and other western countries, the average is around 150 sq ft per employee. Currently, there is no regulation in India on the minimum sq ft for the employee, he said.

The Central government may regulate that a minimum of 100- 125 sq ft space for each worker needs to be utilised by any IT or ITeS unit registered under SEZ or STPI, Rao said in the letter.

According to him, more spacewould ensurehealthy distance among employees on the IT campuses and parks and hence should be strictly enforced.

The Minister also requested the union minister to come out with standard health code to be followed at all IT parks such as STPI and SEZs.

The health code includes employee hygiene, social distancing at the workplace including common areas and possible contact points.

The IT Park health code should be similar to the fire department norms and strictly enforced, he added.

Rao also urged the minister to see to it the clearance of income tax refund dues upto Rs 25 lakh to MSMEs for the year 2018-19 is doneimmediately.

He urged the Centre to enhance the line of credit for SMEs from banks to take care of their payroll for three to four months to control the layoffs during the COVID-19 times.

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