Prioritise manufacturing, agriculture and restart in phases, Assocham’s plan for post-lockdown India

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Updated: Apr 11, 2020 5:53 PM

Suggesting a calibrated approach for various industries and sectors, to re-start their operations, industry body ASSOCHAM has formulated an approach strategy along with a standard operating procedure for resuming economic activity in India.

PMI data, IHS Markit, india manufacturing activity, manufacturing activity slow in march, slow demand due to coronavirus concernASSOCHAM has said that medical fitness and testing of employees should be prioritised before work resumes.

Suggesting a calibrated approach for various industries and sectors, to re-start their operations, industry body Assocham has formulated an approach strategy along with a standard operating procedure for resuming economic activity in India. It has been suggested that economic activity should resume in phases, prioritising sectors like agriculture, export units, highly-automated industries and selective construction over others. Assocham has rooted for medical fitness and testing of employees to be prioritised before work resumes in any phase and continuing the same on a periodic basis until the pandemic is completely wiped out.

In a report titled, ‘India opening for Business–Suggested calibrated approach and potential SoP,’ Assocham has suggested that the top-most priority, in an effort to resume economic activity, should be given to the safety of workers and other stake-holders. Agriculture and manufacturing, according to Assocham, should be prioritised to be re-opened. “As the Rabi harvest is picking up, necessitating the workforce to be in the fields along with agri machinery, it is imperative to facilitate the most important activity which has provided the food security to the country. While the agriculture sector may not be contributing commensurately with other segments in the Gross Domestic Product, it is India’s lifeline giving livelihood to over half of our population,” said Assocham secretary general, Deepak Sood.

Construction where sufficient labour is already at site, export-oriented units, government offices and e-commerce are among the sectors suggested for opening in the first phase. While in the second phase, it has been suggested that IT, ITeS, professional services, food retailing and hospitality industry be taken into consideration. 

In its standard operating procedure, the industry body with over 4.5 lakh members across India has suggested that over the next 45 days, staff across industries should be deployed in three phases. With 50% of the workforce resuming work 15 days post the lockdown in phase-1, the number inching up to 75% in 15-45 days which should be phase-2. 100% workforce should be deployed 45 days after the lockdown, according to Assocham.

“Sectors like food processing, automobile, textile, defence production, electronic hardware must be re-booted fast; or else China which has largely recovered from the Coronavirus blow would force out all other competitors including India,” Sood said. Other suggestions given in the report include, discourage large gatherings and meetings, provision for hand sanitizers at work-place, discontinue bio-metric attendance, special transportation facility for employees and disinfecting the workplace completely.

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