In a comprehensive plan for a gradual lifting of the lockdown, the ASSOCHAM suggests that several selective but key sectors of trade and industry, including retail, essential manufacturing, large construction and infrastructure projects, to name a few, should be allowed to resume operations, with strict adherence to social distancing norms and other precautionary measures suggested by the Government. This would help mitigate the business and job loss that Indian industries are facing amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Based on wide consultations with various stakeholders, including large and small businesses across different sectors, we found that there is wide support for the measures being taken by the Centre and states for containing the global pandemic. Those engaged in the manufacture, transport and last-mile delivery have been making great efforts to meet the daily essential needs of the citizens. However, with the shut-down of a large part of the economy and businesses coming to a standstill, the losses are rising and the jobs are increasingly at risk. As the containment efforts are on war-footing, India has been able to contain the spread so far and we must prepare to reboot the economy,” said ASSOCHAM Secretary-General, Mr. Deepak Sood, releasing a report on ‘Business Continuity Measures’.
The ASSOCHAM recommendations on business continuity measures are in sync with the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi‘s holistic approach towards dealing with the situation, and also technical inputs and support of the NITI Aayog.
Rallying around the national sentiment that the country’s entire health and medical infrastructure should be massively ramped up, the chamber suggests that the entire value chain would need much larger commitment and resources. Likewise, the pharmaceutical industry which has established its presence all across the world would need to fill in the gaps of API (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients) towards achieving self-sufficiency in the medium term.
The report suggests that migrant labor available within states should be encouraged to pick up work based on their skill-set, to meet the sudden peak in demand when businesses re-open post the lockdown.
“As industry reopens, hotspots of infection should continue to be in lockdown till the infection is mitigated. Rapid testing can help identify the number of cases and the associated risk factor of opening the localities. We risk losing the gains we have achieved in the past few weeks.” said Mr. Sood.