Amidst the coronavirus outbreak, several offices in India are giving their employees the option to work from home (WFH). The government of India has granted certain exemptions related to the use of VPNs in the country to help aid the remote work facility.

"In the context of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the request received from Other Service Providers (OSPs) and in the larger public interest," the Department of Telecommunications announced the relaxations regarding the use of VPNs in respect of the work-from-home facility for a period up to April 30, 2020.

The government announced to exempt the requirement of security deposit and agreement for work from home facility for OSPs. It also removed the requirement of authorized Service Providers Provisioned secured VPN.

Government allows exemptions for use of VPN. (Representational Image)Pixabay

"During this period, the OSPs are permitted to use secured VPN configured using Static IP address by themselves for interconnection between Home agent position and OSP Centre with pre-defined locations. In this regard, the agents at home shall be treated as Extended Agent Position of the OSP," it said.

The Department of Telecommunication also announced to exempt the requirement of seeking prior permission for WFH facility, however, the OSPs are required to provide prior intimation to the respective LSA field units of the department.

It also said that the OSP shall submit complete details for Extended Agent Positions including names, physical address, and Static IP. "In case of violation of terms and conditions of WFH facility by any agent/ employee or by the OSP during this period, the OSP shall be subjected to a penalty of up to Rs 5 lakh per WFH location, which is in violation."

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Coronavirus claims more lives

The coronavirus threat has been recently classified as "pandemic" by the World Health Organisation. The coronavirus has claimed around 5,500 lives worldwide and there are more than 1.45 lakh active cases of the disease. In India, the total count of COVID-19 cases has risen to 82, among which two people have lost their lives— one being a 76-year-old man in Karnataka and the other being a 68-year-old woman in Delhi.

Multiple state governments in India have issued notices ordering schools, colleges, and cinema halls to stay shut till March 31, 2020. Meanwhile, companies are exploring the option to grant the WFH facilities to their employee.