We are already in the last phase of the 21-day nationwide lockdown that entices a key to the global pandemic COVID-19. As the 14th of April is approaching, the Governments at both the central and state level has to ensure that there is no mass movement of people even after the lockdown is declared over.
Even in PM Modi’s words, we have to “ensure staggered movement of the people”.
Till now the governments have been primarily focusing on the distribution side of the supply chain ensuring the availability of the meal and food grains to the poor and the weak sections of the society. But as the heyday is approaching, with most of the industrial activities shut, it has become quite clear that the stocks of all the essential goods will not last longer that will make the operation of the manufacturing side vital.
But the prime question is: which industries should be allowed to operate so that there is minimal or no spread of the infection?
- According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (GOI), Maharashtra is the worst hit of all states with total confirmed cases numbering to 1018. In terms of GDP (the sum of all value-added) Maharashtra ranks 1st in rank with a GDP of about INR 32.24 lakh crores.
- Tamil Nadu is the second-worst hit of all states with total confirmed cases numbering to 690. In terms of GDP, TN ranks second in India with a GDP of about INR 20.91 lakh crores.
- Even though Gujrat & Karnataka ranks 3rd and 4th in terms of GDP, their share in the infection is very less as compared to the Maharashtra and TN.
- But even though the cases of infection in states like Maharashtra, TN and UP like states are high, they have recorded fewer cases in heavy industrial areas.
- Mirzapur, Varanasi, Lucknow, Meerut, Bulandshahar, Moradabad, Noida, Gautam Budh Nagar, etc are some of the prominent cities of UP but only Agra and Gautam Budh Nagar like cities have recorded most the cases of Infection.
- Tiruchirapalli, Ranipet, Karur, Chennai, Hosur, Coimbatore, Ariyalur, Salem, Erode, etc are the major cities of TN but most of the cases have been recorded in the districts of Chennai, Coimbatore, erode & Karur like cities only.
In my point of view, those industries which have been registered under the factories act, 1948 are easy to regulate and monitor. Social distancing and other kinds of precautionary measures can be easily implemented and monitored by the Government of India over here.
Sectors like agriculture which employees about 244.85 million people (as of 2009-10) need to be resumed as soon as possible so that there is no effect on the stock and price of food grains in the market.
All industries except the pharmaceutical, fertilizer or those requiring continuous operation are currently shut, but can be resumed if proper monitoring and social distancing is practiced efficaciously. Moreover, industries except the essential ones like the basic metals, rubber & plastic, chemicals, etc also need to be resumed because recommencement after a certain duration will not be an easy task. Transportation to the supply areas and availability of labor will become a major challenge leading to many unemployment. Loading, dispatching will then become a prime barrier leading to a failure of Industries on a large scale.
So, if social distancing can be rigorously implemented there is no harm in recommencing the industries including the non-essential ones.
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