New Delhi: Industrial recovery will be painfully slow if the government opts for a sequential opening of different parts of the country as part of a graded exit from the Covid-19 lockdown, industrialist Anand Mahindra said Tuesday.
“If a ‘calibrated’ lifting of the lockdown means sequential opening of different parts of the country, then industrial recovery will be painfully slow,” Mahindra, who is the chairman of the Mahindra Group, wrote on Twitter.
“In manufacturing, if even one feeder factory is still locked down, then the final product assembly will be stalled,” he added.
The Govt has a complex challenge planning an exit from the lockdown. It’s crystal clear that ALL supply chains & ALL elements of the economy are intricately interrelated.For example, humble roadside dhabas may seem ‘non-essential’ but truckers can’t journey without them (1/3)
— anand mahindra (@anandmahindra) April 28, 2020
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had initially announced a three-week nationwide lockdown from 25 March to 14 April to check the spread of coronavirus, before extending it by another 19 days until 3 May.
The lockdown brought economic activity to a complete halt. However, beginning 20 April, the government allowed the resumption of manufacturing activities in certain areas. Even so, many industries have not been able to resume operations due to severe operational difficulties, including logistics and administrative issues.
Mahindra’s comments come at a time when the government has flagged the economy as a priority in any decision taken on the lockdown after 3 May.
‘Lifting of lockdown should be comprehensive’
The central government has divided the country into different zones depending on the cases being reported. It is contemplating a calibrated lifting of the lockdown, allowing factories in Covid-19-free areas to resume operations.
In an interaction with chief ministers Monday, PM Modi had hinted on a relaxed lockdown between 3 and 15 May but without public transport.
Mahindra Group businesses are spread across sectors like automobiles, information technology, financial services, agricultural equipment and hospitality.
In a series of tweets Tuesday, Mahindra said research suggested a 49-day lockdown was optimal to check the spread of coronavirus.
“If true, then post that duration, I believe the lifting of the lockout should be comprehensive,” he said. “Containment by exception based on widespread tracking & testing. Isolation only of hotspots & vulnerable segments of the population.”
For India, 12 May will be the 49th day of the lockdown period if the government does decide to extend it beyond 3 May.
He acknowledged that the government faces a complex challenge in planning an exit from the lockdown, but stressed the deep linkage between supply chains and different sectors of the economy.
He made his case by citing a roadside dhaba as an example. The dhaba, he said, may seem “non-essential” but is important for truckers to transport goods across the country.