Industry cannot start production overnight once the 21-day nationwide lockdown ends; the government will have to give a calendar for a phased restart, said Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, Confederation of Indian Industry. He was participating in a CII panel discussion on CNBC-TV18.
“It is extremely important that we are able to really look at those mass employment sectors because there are a lot of people – we hear about a couple of million people in Punjab, in Delhi who have not been able to go back home, these are migrant workers, they are sitting and they are all at one place together,” Banerjee said.
Following is the edited transcripts of Banerjee’s comments during the panel discussion:
We have been saying that much before April 15, we need a communication from the government as to what it is going to look like because you cannot start production overnight, you need some timeframe.
So, what we have been saying is that start by having a phased restart using a dashboard type of an approach. The government should create a dashboard to monitor the various curves of various cities and states and also the restart calendar for cities and states.
The progressive scale up in terms of the proportion of manpower allowed to get back to work should be based on these dashboards. It is extremely important that we are able to really look at those mass employment sectors because there are a lot of people – we hear about a couple of million people in Punjab, in Delhi who have not been able to go back home, these are migrant workers, they are sitting and they are all at one place together.
If we are able to provide them good shelter, good food and good hygiene, it is important for them to get back to work rather than sitting at a place where they are not doing anything at all and there is no food for them either. So we need to see how we can have a phased restart and especially in sectors of mass employment with proper safeguards and hygiene.
So, manufacturing, e-commerce, construction, alongside logistics, these need to be facilitated of course keeping in mind the green, amber and the red zones.
India is a large country, we need to see which are the areas which can move out of the lockdown. If you look at Gujarat, it need not be one full Gujarat state, it could be certain areas.
So, we need to have an effective dashboard which will be help all facilities that reopen with proper social distancing, screening, sanitization and the fulfilment of norms based on self-certification and with severe penalties if they are violating should be the order of the day. There is need for a phenomenal coordination if it is going to be a phased movement of the lockdown to see that goods are able to move and people who are related to manufacturing and construction are able to move around.