In a move that will facilitate work-from-home for the tech industry, the Department of Telecommunications is scrapping regulations on some IT businesses and call centres in India ("Other Service Providers") that industry associations have complained were onerous and unnecessary, the government announced on Thursday. IT businesses that work with data (as opposed to call centres) have been completely deregulated and left out of the definition of OSPs altogether. This comes months after some of these guidelines, like having to deposit a bank guarantee and exhaustive disclosure requirements for employees working remotely, were temporarily relaxed. These changes are now permanent, with further relaxations. "Requirements such as deposit of bank guarantees, requirement for static IPs, frequent reporting obligations, publication of network diagram, penal provisions etc. have [...] been removed," the government said in its press release announcing new guidelines that only apply to voice-based OSPs like call centres. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India had suggested these changes last October, but even as the pandemic forced most IT workers to work remotely, these recommendations were only accepted partially, and temporarily. In fact, in September, the TRAI and the DoT were conflicted on some of the recommendations, with the DoT keen on keeping some form of regulation in place. TRAI's arguments seem to have prevailed in Thursday's relaxations. What the new rules are The deregulation is significant, but only from the perspective of the pre-existing rules; these regulations have little equivalent in developed countries, and have been called "draconian" and "archaic" by Microsoft and…
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