In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, the State Government of Kerala has taken proactive steps to protect the IT-ITeS industry by waiving off rentals for the companies in government IT parks for a 3-month period. The timely relief applies to companies that have taken up to 10,000 square feet of IT space in the government parks and is available for the months of April, May and June 2020. There are over 850 IT-ITeS companies in this category that employ over 65,000 working professionals. NASSCOM is working the other States to seek similar relief for the IT-ITeS industry.
The Kerala government has also extended this waiver to incubations centres and non-IT establishments located in the IT parks such as restaurants. The existing plan to implement a 5% hike in rental agreements for FY2021 will also not be put into force and all surcharges for the next six months, which is till September 2020 have been waived off. The companies under this exemption have been allowed to pay rent for April, May and June 2020, by July, Aug and September 2020, respectively, without any penalty or surcharge.
As part of this scheme, any IT-ITeS company initiating their operations before 31 March 2021, can avail a rent waiver for the first 3 months from these IT parks. With the consumption of power also falling considerably due to the lockdown period, there will also be a reduction in electricity bills being extended to these users. The MSME units are also among the most affected sectors having reported severe losses in sales with multiple orders being cancelled. The Government of Kerala has recognised their situation as well and has exempted those MSME units from paying rent for a three-month period as well, that are located in Government owned buildings or semi-government, public sector undertakings and local self-government owned locations.