India Inc is opposed to a full nationwide lockdown like last year’s but is well prepared to face local restrictions.
In the ‘life vs livelihood’ conundrum, the solution should balance both, say Corporate India biggies.
According to N Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Sons, the holding company of Tata Group, the country should not go down the path of a nationwide lockdown to curb the Covid-19 second wave as it will hurt the economy.
The Centre is also not looking at shutting down the country entirely like last year.
“We cannot have a full lockdown. It has to be managed in micro segments,” Chandrasekaran said at the 6th National Management Conclave of the All India Management Association (AIMA).
“We have to protect the people and we also have to protect the economy. It is not a binary option,” he said adding that the vaccine production in the country needed to be raised to the level of mass production by replicating factory capacities.
Several Industry captains also echoed this view. “We should not have a lockdown. The economic consequences are too severe. The lower income population suffers the most,” said Ajay Piramal, Chairman, Piramal Enterprises Ltd.
According to Suresh Krishna, Chairman of Sundram Fasteners, there should be a distinction between life and livelihood. “We need to continue with the livelihood. Shutting down completely is not going to do any good to the country. Because people must have income coming in and hence economic activity should continue. Maybe activity could continue at a more regulated way. But complete shutdown will not be a right thing,” he added.
VR Sharma, Managing Director, JSPL, said, “A full lockdown is not the solution. Only because of the lockdown last year the industry lost a lot of money. A lot of jobs were also lost. The government should allow operations in shifts.
“States are the first victims of the revenue loss caused by lockdown. Since States can take a call, industrial activity is unlikely to stop. Governments of UP and Rajasthan have announced lockdown but allowed industry to continue operations”.
K Ganesh, promoter of BigBasket and Portea Medical, said: “Obviously, it us a tough call to take. National lockdown will help to stop the spread of Covid-19 but the collateral damage to businesses will be huge.”
Ashish R Puravankara, Managing Director, Puravankara Ltd, said that the government and the business bodies must devise a roadmap together to navigate the challenges of the second wave, while safeguarding public health as well as livelihoods
Maruti Chairman RC Bhargava had recently said that the lockdown is not a solution. It causes immense hardships, especially to the poor/daily workers who lose their jobs.
“If those people can do their business by following the protocols, I don’t see why we should have a curfew,” he said.