moonlighting: futile for IT companies to prevent moonlighting: Rajeev Chandrasekhar

Companies trying to block employees from working in their own startups or consulting with other companies “is a doomed exercise,” the minister of state for electronics and computing said. Rajeev Chandrasekharreferring to the controversial issue of in the dark.

Chandrasekhar was speaking to ET on the sidelines of the ninth annual forum of the India Public Affairs Forum. Moonlighting involves pursuing more than one job at a time, and remote work has helped employees embrace this option.

Software companies need to understand the changing mindset of their young employees, who have been “bitten by the entrepreneurial virus”, he said.

“Moonlighting represents two very significant phenomena. One is the entrepreneurial bug that has bitten all techies. The second is the talent gap or demand for talent. For a company to prohibit a young engineer from launching into a startup or trying to control them from that…they don’t understand the model change,” Chandrasekhar told ET.

Tech and software companies in India are divided over whether to allow their employees to moonlight for other companies while still being on their payroll.

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While some new age start-ups such as
Swiggy has announced a comprehensive policy around this, vendors of legacy software have widely expressed their displeasure.

ET reported earlier this week that
Wipro had laid off 300 employees who were moonlighting for their direct competitors.

Wipro Executive Chairman Rishad Premji told ET that moonlighting is a “complete breach of integrity in its deepest form”.

“There is no place for someone to work for Wipro and its competitor x, y or z. They (the competing companies) would feel exactly the same if they found out. So I stand by what I I said that it is a violation of integrity if an employee moonlights in any way,” Premji said.

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On Friday, Chandrasekhar, while agreeing that employees who had contractual obligations must abide by the contract and not violate the law, also said that most employees of tech companies become “tech entrepreneurs” themselves.

“They (employees) want to monetize and develop and demonstrate and achieve multiple things with their skills. I strongly recommend the industry to ‘don’t try to suppress this’ as it is an idea whose time has come. C It’s like taking away the power of thinking,” Chandrasekhar said.

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On criticisms of the government’s production-linked incentive program for the mobile phone sector by former Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan, Chandrasekhar said that the IPL diet not only aimed to improve the supply of home electronics, but also tried to create an ecosystem that would be self-sufficient in the long term.

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