The value of software exports by units registered under STPI crossed the Rs 46,550-crore mark during the coronavirus lockdown, and timely provisioning of business continuity plans and permissions kept operational impact to minimum, a top official has said.

During the period, Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) saw 253 new unit registrations and renewals, STPI Director General Omkar Rai told PTI.

The exports clocked by STP-registered units stood at Rs 4,21,103 crore during 2018-19, and the 2019-20 figure, which is under compilation, is likely to be higher by 5-6 per cent since the lockdown came in at the tail end of the financial year.

"We have compiled data for the lockdown period, which shows that total value of software exports certified by STPI during the lockdown period beginning March 24 was about Rs 46,556 crore," he said.

STPI, is an autonomous society set up by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology in 1991, with the objective of encouraging, promoting and boosting the software exports from India.

With a mandate to promote software and electronic hardware exports from the country by implementing Software Technology Park (STP) and Electronic Hardware Technology Park (EHTP) schemes, STPI focuses on building an enabling ecosystem to provide single window clearance services, reliable internet connectivity, incubation facilities and other infrastructure services to encourage software exports from the country.

Asked about the business outlook for software exports during the ongoing financial year, Rai said exports had continued even during the lockdown period.

"Companies had triggered business continuity plans and work-from-home was adopted on a wide scale. We issued a notification as early as March 11 enabling work-from-home provisions for STP-registered units. DoT (Department of Telecommunications) also relaxed other service provider (OSP) norms... Most state governments facilitated uninterrupted functioning of the IT industry, by issuing timely permissions for critical work," he said.

So, impact on the IT industry was more about effect on export destinations like Europe and the US that faced difficulties due to the coronavirus pandemic, even as supply-side constraints were minimal and Indian IT companies continued to deliver export service through the lockdown period, he said.

"The total new registrations and renewals were at 253... these units have given export projections of Rs 68,477 crore for next 3-5 years, and 76,000 potential employment generation," he said.

STPI's offices continued to function during the lockdown period and online facilities were made available to ensure IT units do not face difficulties.

The impact was on the customer side and not to do with supply side constraints, he added. PTI MBI

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