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IT companies come under the scanner

Posted August 1st, 2017, 11:52 AM IST

IT companies come under the scanner

They are workaholics who need extra energy and concentration to work for hours on end. Is the newly minted wealth, intense competition between companies and stress driving IT employees towards the lethal combination of alcohol and illicit drugs? Going by the latest reports, this seems to be the case.

Recently, several IT companies were summoned by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Prohibition and Excise Department for the use of illicit drugs by their employees. Even though precise numbers of techie drug users are small, there is evidence of a growing menace.

From late nights to early mornings on the job, techies are turning to supplements to boost their brain power.

In fact, a growing number of young professionals insist that taking small doses of psychedelic drugs makes them perform better at work — making them more creative and focussed.

“I’ve tried supplements. For a while, it increases your energy levels but after that, I am left with a severe headache,” says a techie who works in an MNC in Hitec city. But IT Secretary Jayesh Ranjan says the situation is not as alarming as shown in the movie Udta Punjab.

“There are four lakh plus employees in the IT industry in Hyderabad. This particular investigation has found only a few. We are not saying whatever they have done is pardonable. In fact, we have the names of companies whose employees are involved and have asked them to keep an eye out while creating a congenial atmosphere at work. The companies should channelise their energies in team building and CSR,” suggests Jayesh Ranjan.

The general secretary of Society for Cyberabad Security Council (SCSC), Bharani Kumar Aroll opines, “I am not saying it’s not there at all. A lot of things are happening around IT industries and no doubt, it’s a bit oriented towards western culture. But to say that the entire sector is influenced by drugs is wrong. It can happen anywhere.”

“As Hyderabad has a large number of IT professionals, there is scope for drug abuse,” says Zonal Director, S.K. Sinha of the Narcotics Control Bureau, Bengaluru. “But it would be wrong to say that only the IT industry is affected,” he adds.

Do companies test their employees for drugs? “There is no industry standard as such. If somebody is found taking drugs, then definitely, disciplinary action will be taken against them. Teams and projects or HR groups can sense it if productivity is lost. About seven IT companies were summoned by the Excise Department. However, I fail to understand how a company becomes responsible for an individual’s conduct,” says Bharani Kumar.

Jayesh Ranjan adds, “All the companies have stringent policies against drug abuse. What we are seeing is a very miniscule issue. Companies have an internal code of conduct under which anything that’s illegal or brings a bad reputation to the company is prohibited. Especially since even a percentage drop in productivity means a loss of hundreds of dollars. If the problem becomes widespread, then we can think of drug testing, but it’s not alarming."

The volume of people hired by companies could also be one of the reasons why 100 per cent testing is not possible, says Bharani. “And it’s a long process. But definitely, there should be some effort to cut down the menace in every part of society,” he adds.

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