Professionals moonlighting should leave Karnataka: IT minister


G iving support to IT heavyweights such as Infosys and Wipro that are opposing the concept of moonlighting, C N Ashwath Narayan – Karnataka’s minister for IT, electronics & skills development – has said that paid freelancing beyond office work hours is “literally cheating” and professionals wanting to do that should shift out of the state.

“As a policy and ethically, how can moonlighting be allowed? It is not fair in any way to have moonlighting. That’s not the way forward… It is literally cheating,” Narayan told TOI while taking a jibe at those looking to work the extra hours beyond their regular jobs. “How can you perform? Is he a superman or what?… Does he not have a family?”

The comments from the Karnataka minister assume importance as the headquarters of India’s top IT companies – Infosys and Wipro – are located within the state. Bengaluru is also the hub of the country’s IT prowess, housing one of the largest populations of tech professionals.

Narayan, who was in the national capital to promote Bengaluru Tech Summit, said that the industry should not allow practices such as moonlighting, adding that the state also does not support such paid assignments beyond office hours. “There is no space here (for moonlighting). If there is so much demand for you, work elsewhere. This is a basic thing.”

Asked whether the companies have raised the matter with the state government, he said, “When they have the power, why should they come to us? They are dealing with it in their own ways.”

While Wipro has sacked 300 employees over the issue of moonlighting, Infosys also sent an email to workers, saying that dual employment is in violation of employee code of conduct. However, TCS has been somewhat mild on the issue, saying that any harsh action could ruin a young professional’s career and thus companies need to show empathy.

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