Bonds and Bondage

The bane of the Indian IT industry

I have wanted to address the bond system in the Indian IT industry and its destructive impact on careers for a long time now. Due to one reason or the other, it just never seemed to happen. But what better way to make you realize the damage than telling you real stories of people who have suffered firsthand.

Riya is stuck in a bond of Rs. 5 lakhs for 3 years.

A 2020 EEE graduate, Riya was placed on campus in a reputed MNC. On the day of joining, she was asked to sign a training bond of 18 months followed by a bond of service for a 3 year period or a penalty of Rs. 5 lakhs.

18 months and 3 years, that's 4.5 years of Riya's early career gone up in ashes. And then a penalty of Rs. 5 lakhs if she chooses to leave the company before 2024, how many of the service companies even offer annual packages of that amount? Lawyers cost less than that.

Sam had no useful skill to get a job by when he left a service company after two years.

Sam signed a bond of a year for a penalty of Rs. 1 lakh for a job with CTC Rs. 6 LPA. That's decent, right? Sadly, he did not get his parents' support to leave the company and had to work there for 2 years. The work was outdated and was based on the company proprietary code which no one was using outside that company. When he finally left the company, he had no in-demand skills and was hired by no one in the industry. Does this sound decent at all?

Divyasree was conned by the Wipro WILP program.

Divyasree is currently working with Wipro under their WILP program, which claims to provide free education and MTech Software Systems from BITS Pilani against a 5-year bond for a breakage amount of Rs. 75k.

Let me tell you, the WILP program is a con and nothing else. That master's degree has no value in the market. And one will lose 5 precious early years of one's career.

Mohit was absconded when he chose to resign by paying the bond amount.

Mohit, a developer, was put in a customer support role and was not allowed to change projects even when the night shifts took a toll on his health. Though he was ready to pay the penalty, the company was not willing to let him resign before the 2 year period was over. Finally, after much harassment, he was given a termination letter and was absconded.

Is it just for any professional to get such treatment at the hands of their employer?

Pankaj and his partner are fighting this ugliness in court.

Pankaj's partner had signed an employment agreement for a service of 2 years and a bond amount of Rs. 2.5 Lakhs. The company did not pay her salary for a period of 6 months during the pandemic. And when she chose to resign, they tried harassing her. She sent the employer a legal notice, in reply to which, the company sent a backdated notice and rushed immediately to court with a summary suit. She has not received her relieving certificate and experience letter to date.

I don't even know how to react to this. It's horrifying, absolutely horrifying.

How did I come across these people and their stories?

Through the Substack thread that was published some time ago. If you are still not convinced, go through the entire set of comments. The system is corrupted to an extent that service companies do not even care about the physical health of their employees, let alone mental, and want to leech off them for as long as possible.

DON'T SIGN A BOND!!! That's it.

If you want a fulfilling high-growth career, do not get trapped in bonds, and if you already have, try to get out of the situation as soon as you can. If anyone still bothers you to sign a bond, be it your college, company or for that sake, family, guide them to this issue or the thread or this specific flowchart.

And finally, share this newsletter with the ones who are stuck in the swamp of service companies. I cannot help with the bonds and the penalties, but I can ensure that they have the right skills needed to get a job in the industry when they finally come out of it.


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