MUMBAI: In a twist to the Flipkart campus saga, the Indian Institutes of Technology claimed they have been assured by the country’s largest ecommerce firm that student recruits whose joining dates had been delayed will be offered internships.
Flipkart clarified to ET that the internships will be at other startups and was an interim measure worked out voluntarily by employees who are also alumni of various top institutes. The campus recruits will be absorbed as interns with a monthly stipend of Rs 50,000.
This was the result of a voluntary initiative by Flipkart employees, or Flipsters, who themselves were hired from various top institutes in earlier years.
“Flipkart has assured me that students will be taken on as interns from end-June-July while the official contract will start from December 1. They will soon be sending a written communication to this effect,” Professor Kaustabha Mohanty, convenor of the All-IITs Placement Committee (AIPC), toldET. He said Flipkart had contacted him on Friday, the day of a panel meeting in Mumbai to chalk out a strategy with respect to campus recruitments by startups and ecommerce firms.
Initiative by Employees
Mohanty added that the IITs have asked Flipkart to honour the Rs 1.5 lakh joining bonus commitment announced earlier. When contacted, a Flipkart official who declined to be identified said some of its employees who are alumni from these institutes got together to find a solution for affected campus recruits to best utilise the six months before joining Flipkart.
According to a letter being sent out by alumni to this year’s recruits, they have been approached by a bunch of Indian startups offering internship opportunities in both business and tech areas. A copy of the letter was seen by ET.
The alumni-turned-employees said they have a considerable number of companies keen to absorb these recruits, offering internships starting in mid-June and finishing in December; a stipend of Rs 50,000 per month plus air transfers and initial accommodation for 15 days. At the end of the internship, the interns can take up their job offers and join Flipkart in December or continue at the startups.
“This is a voluntary initiative from a group of Flipsters. Whether you accept this opportunity or not is your decision and will have no bearing on the existing offer from Flipkart,” reads the letter. It added that the “volunteering group is continuously generating internship demand with startup firms so that maximum students could be accommodated”. The internships will be allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis.
In a separate development, hyperlocal delivery startup Roadrunnr , which had also deferred joining dates to December, assured the IITs that it will take on all hired students latest by end-September. On-boarding will take place in three phases, starting end-June, said Mohanty. The AIPC meeting, which was attended by representatives from nine IITs, decided that startups and ecommerce companies will be slotted in three categories, depending on the level of difficulty they had caused.
“Companies which have withdrawn offers will be blacklisted,” said V Babu, adviser, training and placement, at IIT-Madras, who attended the meeting. Startups that hired students at reduced salaries will be asked to honour the original salary offers, failing which they could be blacklisted.
Flipkart and Roadrunnr were among companies that delayed joining dates for campus recruits because of cost pressures and in some cases, closing of operations.
On the issue of slotting, the IITs said they will not infringe on the students’ freedom and will let them decide on future placements according to what they deem best. ET had reported earlier that Flipkart may lose its day 1slot in the placement programme across leading IITs. “In case of any issues, we will deal with it collectively and protect the students,” said Babu. Placement officials at the Indian Institutes of Management in Ahmedabad and Bengaluru said they had not received any official communication from Flipkart yet. At Management Development Institute, Gurgaon, the alumni have approached students whose joining dates had been delayed.