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A year since lockdown: The impact on the IT hub, Bengaluru

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Bengaluru, Mar 24: Life has come full circle for Nawaz (name changed), as the COVID induced lockdown completes a year.

The coronavirus took a deadly toll on this 47-year-old software engineer in Bengaluru, considered the Silicon City of India with maximum IT firms operating here.

A year since lockdown: The impact on the IT hub, Bengaluru

"I lost my job first and then my father in September last year due to coronavirus," Nawaz told PTI.

The IT professional, who is now jobless, said demonetisation had initially affected his employer firm and then the GST dealt a final blow.

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He had been working as a freelancer for various firms till the lockdown was imposed.

"After lockdown the companies stopped giving me any job and I was entirely dependent on my father''s pension," Nawaz said.

Facing a mid-career crisis, Nawaz could not land a decent job.He tried his hand on business, only to suffer huge losses."I don''t know what to do next," Nawaz said.

According to the Karnataka State IT/ITeS Employees Union (KITU), at least 20,000 software engineers lost their jobs in Bengaluru.

"We are fighting the case of 47 IT employees who lost their jobs.Their matter is pending before the labour commissioner but others have not approached," a senior office bearer of KITU told PTI on the condition of anonymity.

According to her, many IT giants in Bengaluru retrenched IT professionals in bulk last year during the COVID lockdown whereas there were pay cuts in many IT/ITES firms.

This is besides the layoffs in various other manufacturing sectors in the state.

Karnataka had in December last year seen unprecedented violence at the Apple Inc contractor manufacturing firm Wistron at Narasapura Industrial Area in Kolar where employees went on rampage over wage related issues.

Wistron was shut since then and reopened only recently.The company removed its vice president for the poor handling of the situation.

There was a lockout at the Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) owing to labour strike for many months. The logjam ended only at the beginning of March.

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The trend was not limited to the private sector alone.

Employees of the state road transport corporations too went on a strike for almost three days last year with various demands including pay on par with the state government employees.

The strike had brought the city to its knees and compelled the government to come up with an assurance that their demands would be met.

AITUC state general secretary D A Vijay Bhaskar said in the garment sector about two lakh workers, 3.5 lakh in the industrial sector, especially in the automobile sector, and about 3 lakh construction workers working on contract with major builders lost their jobs due to COVID induced lockdown.

"There is a huge number of people from unorganised sector who too have been rendered jobless in the last one year."

"Many companies are giving half salary even today to their employees as they could not recover financially," Bhaskar said.

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