Which Are the Industries Likely to Start Operations After April 14? Ministers are Back at Work Already


Which Are the Industries Likely to Start Operations After April 14? Ministers are Back at Work Already

Illustration: Mitesh Parmar

With the initial lockdown period of 21 days coming to an end, and murmurs around a two-week extension grow louder, can India afford to continue halting all economic activity? A few ministers have resumed work. Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar, Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Minister of State for Youth Affairs Kiren Rijiju, Culture and Tourism Minister Prahlad Patel along with a few senior officials made their way to their offices.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation on Tuesday at 10 am and while the lockdown might be extended, there will be a few exceptions. A complete shutdown has consequences, and the ones to be the most affected are the country’s marginalised.

Lawyer and activist Prashant Bushan cited data which said over 12 crore Indians have lost employment over the past two weeks. Assuming eight crore of them are the main or only earners in the family, two-thirds of the country’s 25-crore household could face a livelihood crisis.

After a meeting with Chief Ministers on Saturday, PM Modi had indicated that there will be relaxation in certain areas to ensure the survival of the economy.

Red, orange and green, the colour code of our traffic lights, will now be used to detect sensitive as well as virus-free zones, and facilitate movement of people accordingly.

Green zones will be districts with no Covid-19 cases, orange zones will be places with less than 15 cases and which have not seen an increase in positive cases. In these areas, limited public transport and harvesting of farm products will be allowed. Red zones will be those with more than 15 cases, and no activity will be allowed here.

On April 10, the Union ministry had exempted fishing operations, which includes harvesting, selling, and marketing, from the purview of the lockdown. Construction of highways in safe districts might be permitted, reported Business Standard. The industries ministry has recommended restarting some manufacturing in the autos, textiles, defence, electronics and other sectors, according to a Reuters report.

Over 15 other sectors that could be partially opened include heavy electrical items like transformers and circuit vehicles, telecom equipment and components including optic fibre cable, compressor and condenser units, steel and ferrous alloy mills, spinning and ginning mills, power looms, defence and defence ancillary units, cement plants, pulp and paper units, fertiliser plants, paints and dyes manufacturing, all types of food and beverages-related industries, seeds processing units, plastic manufacturing units, automotive units, gems and jewellery sector units (big and organised) and all units in Special Economic Zones and export-oriented units.

It has also been stated that industrial units that are allowed to operate must meet five conditions – single-entry point for workers, sufficient space to ensure social distancing, separate transport to ferry workers if they can’t be accommodated on the premises and high quality regular sanitisation of the premises. Authorities are expected to ensure strict observance of these conditions.

According to the World Bank, India is likely to record its worst growth performance since the 1991 liberalisation, with growth pegged at 1.5-2.8% for FY21. But a partial opening of some sectors, might provide us some relief.