A poll conducted by industry body CII shows that an overwhelming majority of India’s CEOs believe that India needs stricter enforcement of COVID-19 restrictions that are already in place and not lockdowns. The message is simple -- protect livelihoods along with lives as we battle a second wave of COVID-19.
Out of the 710 CEOs and senior industry leaders that were polled by the CII, a whopping 93 percent of CEOs chose stringent implementation of safety norms over a partial lockdown to tide over the current situation. Only 7 percent believe a partial lockdown will be more effective.
75 percent of those polled believe that movement of workers gets impacted even during a partial lockdown which will have a significant impact on industry's output. More than 50 percent expect the impact on production if workers movement is restricted to be anywhere between 10 to 50 percent.
72 percent of CEOs believe that not just the movement of workers, but movement of goods will also suffer if there is a partial lockdown. Almost 40 percent of the CEOs polled expect the impact on production to be over 25 percent.
Also, 96 percent of CEOs are confident that their company is equipped for stricter health and safety protocols if needed to keep the engines of growth running amid the pandemic.
Talking about the findings of the poll, CII President Uday Kotak said that vaccine production should be the singular focus. He said that India needs more than 20 crore doses a month and we need to do whatever it takes to achieve these production targets in the next 30-60 days.
“We are happy to talk with government and whichever way we can step in to make that happen, including raising of capital if government and these private parties are not able to come to some sort of a resolution. We for the sake of all Indians, we need to keep aside all differences, all issues of negotiations. The country needs at least 130 crore vaccine doses in the next 6 months and make that a singular focus for each of us in India, Kotak said.
Kotak also advised laying down a single rule that there won’t be any public gatherings. He said that any gathering of more than 10-20 people creates risk. He further added that factories should be allowed to stay open as they are not the danger. He also suggested allowing of only one-third of seating capacity in public transport.
TV Narendran, President Designate at CII said that the fear of lockdown is coming back and it is important to avoid the panic that was seen last year. He also said that many of the factories are safer than the cities as they are taking sufficient care and protocols are being followed.
According to CII’s Vice President Sanjiv Bajaj every age group should have access to vaccines. He said that the senior citizens have been protected, but it is the youth that is keeping the economy running.
“We have taken care of the fragile, the 60-65 plus already by and large. We also need to make sure the youngsters who are going to work, they are the ones keeping the economy going, they also have families. So, by giving them the vaccination we are protecting them,” he said.
He also said that unlike US and UK, India cannot have multiple waves of stimulus and hence the second wave of COVID needs to be controlled by keeping the economy humming with the right precautions.
Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General at CII said that they have expressed apprehensions to the government of various states. He said that there is a need to strike a balance – the industry does not want to see large scale migration and does not want to see a hit to the economy.Watch video for more.