Economy

Indian Chamber of Commerce asks Govt to exempt support services of essential commodities from lockdown

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on March 24, 2020

Many food items such as milk, edible oil, processed foods, medicines, toothpaste, soaps depend on raw materials and packaging materials, besides transportation of these items from the manufacturing units to the various distribution centres.   -  Getty Images/iStockphoto

Move to ensure there is no shortage of essential commodities in the market

The Indian Chamber of Commerce has urged the government to exclude some of the raw material suppliers from the purview of lockdown to ensure production for units manufacturing essential commodities.

Many food items such as milk, edible oil, processed foods, medicines, toothpaste, soaps depend on raw materials and packaging materials, besides transportation of these items from the manufacturing units to the various distribution centres.

The Government has already identified a list of jobs and services deemed ‘essential’ that are excluded from lockdown over the next few weeks.

Services integral to essentials

ICC has appealed to the Government to prepare the ‘support products and services list’ of non-essentials to ensure availability of essentials.

In fact, ICC said many non-essential inputs and services are integral part of the manufacturing process of essential products.

The government should prepare a list of non-essential services and products that are exempted from the lockdown to ensure that there is no shortage of essential commodities in the market, said Rajeev Singh, Director-General, Indian Chamber of Commerce.

It is important to keep these items and services easily available as the right kind of packaging is key to hygiene and availability of quality food products. Else, unsafe food products may find their way into the markets, he said.

Key non-essentials

Key non-essential products include packaging materials, related chemicals, spare parts to run factories and trucks to move these non-essential goods.

On an average, any manufacturing unit uses more than 100 consumables and raw materials to run factories and it is complex to define all.

For instance, if a milk processing unit does not get packaging material, it cannot pack milk and send to the markets. Similarly, card board is necessary for secondary packaging. The cardboard supplier needs to get minimal manpower, paper and glue for manufacture.

Considering the safety of employees, the support units of essential commodities should be allowed to operate under strict protocols such as shift-based working, staggered meal breaks, flexible leave arrangements and physical distancing.

Published on March 24, 2020

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