A calibrated and safe exit from the lockdown, subject, of course, to considerations to the geographical spread of COVID-19 in India, would be a practical approach, according to the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), which yesterday released a report titled ‘Exit from the Lockdown—a CII Strategy’. The approach should be open to change as the situation evolves.

“Given that the number of cases has rapidly increased and hotspots have emerged in the country over the last few days, and that the opening up across the country would need to be slow and staggered, it would be desirable to have three classifications of geographies as red, amber and green, based on the incidence of COVID cases,” said director general Chandrajit Banerjee in a press release.

A more complex point is whether all industries can open in the green zones and which ones should open in the amber zone, assuming that none would be operational in the red zones other than essential and exempt services, CII said.

All facilities that reopen must have requisite health, sanitation and screening systems in place to protect workers. Various measures have been suggested such as thermal check, social distancing, factory sanitisation. Any enterprise which does not comply with this on a self-certification basis should be subject to stringent penalties, the CII press release said.

However, prior to the lifting of the lockdown, adequate notice should be given to all and there should be announcement of an economic package, CII said.

Prioritisation of industrial sectors is essential for restart to gain from the control measures employed to reduce the spread of the pandemic while minimising the economic impact of the lockdown affecting exports, livelihoods and jobs, said CII.

Textiles and apparels, pharmaceuticals, food processing, minerals and metal, e-commerce, automobiles and chemicals are the key sectors that have been suggested for restart among the industrial sectors that need to restart operations in a calibrated manner.

In stage I, pharmaceuticals manufacturing, textiles and apparels, food processing and minerals & metals, should be opened. In stage II, which should begin after a gap of one or two weeks, should open agricultural market operations, e-commerce, including food and groceries delivery, automobiles and chemicals. And stage III could open the remaining sectors after a week or two further, CII added.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)