Moonlighting remark taken out of context by media, says Karnataka Minister

A day after Karnataka’s Minister for IT, Electronics & Skills Development, C N Ashwath Narayan, expressed strong views on moonlighting in IT companies, he clarified on Wednesday that his comments were taken out of context, and media headlines had sensationalized the issue.

The initial reports quoted Narayan as criticizing paid freelancing beyond office hours, referring to it as “cheating,” and suggesting that professionals wanting to engage in such activities should “shift out of Karnataka.” He questioned the fairness and ethical aspects of moonlighting, emphasizing the challenges individuals face in maintaining performance and family commitments.

Narayan, however, clarified through a series of tweets on Wednesday that his statements were misinterpreted. He emphasized that he had mentioned the IT industry’s capability to address moonlighting internally without seeking government intervention. Narayan highlighted the industry’s responsibility to manage issues related to client sensitivities, confidentiality, and non-compete clauses, stating that moonlighting as a policy cannot be allowed. He clarified that he did not comment on professionals leaving the state.

The controversy arose during Narayan’s visit to New Delhi, where he was promoting the Bengaluru Tech Summit scheduled for November 16-18. In a meeting with leading entrepreneurs, he discussed mobility features and ethical aspects of technology, expressing concern about the emerging trend of moonlighting in major IT companies.

Notably, corporations like Wipro and Infosys, based in Bengaluru, have started taking action against employees engaged in moonlighting, which involves having a second job secretly and typically at night in addition to regular employment.