Editorial

SOCIO - ECO SURVIVAL STRATEGY IN THE LOCK DOWN STRATEGY

April 14, 2020 09:31 PM

By Dr . Ajay Kumar

Dr.Ajay Kumar
    The Prime Minister has extended lock-down for another 19 days. No one can question that. But, he has no road map, clueless man. No strategy. Even if you give him a strategy, Shri Narendra Das Modi, we also know him as Prime Minister of India, is a man who don’t want t. He is enjoying. But, a calibrated and safe exit from the lock-down, subject, of course, to considerations being given to the physical spread of COVID-19-Corona Virus in the country, would be a practical approach.

This is an evolving situation and therefore, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi should be open to alter the approach of his arrogant mindset, as we go along, it’s national emergency, hence everything is for people. Why he is not HELPING people, only data and numbers are being floated on media that- this has been done that has been done, but where it has been done, and what he achieved is not reflecting in the society.

I am not against full lock down or partial opening. I am happy if something is still opened. The point to stress is that all facilities that reopen must have requisite health, sanitation and screening systems in place to protect workers. Which I see no scope. If Government has no such system then how come a private Company can have such systems installed in his premise. It’s a joke kind of thing. Still, I read about various measures, which have been suggested such as thermal check, social distancing, factory sanitization and so on. Any enterprise which does not comply with this on a self-certification basis should be subject to stringent penalties. But, where is sanitization material.

We all know that the number of cases of COVID case 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. The principle should be that we look at opening up in concentric circles around the red zones. The radiating heat map should turn from red in the inside to green on the outside. In other words, “Lock inside out”. The systematic and very calculated opening is needed. Food Home Delivery, and Wine & Dine home deliver should be permitted. Some sectors like – Construction labors to be released for work having tents as mandatory and register of workers to be maintained very precisely.

The very complex is which Industry should be given a chance to open up. As we have categorized, just for our convenience – sector as red, Amber and green zone, hence, 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. If this is so, then workers who were working in red zone, closed now fully, who will take care of the. Why there is no guidelines for this, or Government is active to protect the manual labor rights. Who is going to feed them, saying and extending lock-down sitting in Ac-Room is easy, but for me people dying and seeing them is very tough, may not be tough for 56 Inch Chest Man. Dialogues can’t feed stomach. He is in power, it is his duty, to reach and to feed.

I am not against full lock down or partial opening. I am happy if something is still opened. The point to stress is that all facilities that reopen must have requisite health, sanitation and screening systems in place to protect workers. Which I see no scope. If Government has no such system then how come a private Company can have such systems installed in his premise. It’s a joke kind of thing. Still, I read about various measures, which have been suggested such as thermal check, social distancing, factory sanitization and so on. Any enterprise which does not comply with this on a self-certification basis should be subject to stringent penalties. But, where is sanitization material.

However, prior to the lifting of the lock-down (which should be decided based on advice of medical experts), there has to be adequate notice given to all and along with that there should be announcement of an economic package. FORCEFULLY, no one should be allowed to take the jobs, and full salary of the staff to be paid unconditionally. In case of national emergency, Company Or People or class has no rights, in critical scenario, Govt must give assurance that there can’t be a job loss and no salary cut. If anyone does that – there should be stringent punishment capital plus lock-down in jail, then too he needs to pay, that assurance was missing from the Government. It helps, workers to be confident about their Company, as they are living assets. And, Company owners will feel responsibility that they cannot surpass this.

But whatever is said or quoted here stops again as – where is economy going on. ECONOMIST HAS NOTHING TO WORRY. They are fear mongering. We are hardly having any foreign reserve loses due to lock–down, Up-Down in Sense is not Business. Hence, our approach on the economy revival package is two-fold – (i) a part through fiscal expansion which is directed towards the bottom of the pyramid and (ii) enhanced credit to industry through banks. Still I have request to Government, that “Metro City” Private Sector workers must be paid Rs. 18000/- on time during this lock down. They are living in City. There expenses are high. We must not forget them. The woman employees must be respected by Government, and force Company owners to pay them unconditionally for the lock-down period. 

The best way to support the distressed sections daily wage workers of the population would be to provide ration directly rather than cash. They need food. The are in dire need and you know what, you are killing them very softly, very swiftly, and in masses.

This will help you in long run, this also negates the impact of inflation, if any, on the population and also ensures that the money is indeed spent on food and basic provisions rather than other forms of expenditure. In addition, this needs to be combined with provision of shelter and meals for the people, who are in need of this. Your system is not perfect, since there is always pilferage from the system by miscreants and anti-politics, but these are extraordinary times and the well being of the largest section of the population would have to be kept in mind, even if through an imperfect system. We need you to ask the big names to come and get in open with Police and MCD to help those. Take help of them. Get our most disciplined “Boys” from NCC to come out and feed and distribute poor people the food supplies or groceries or take their help in packing. I KNOW, IT’S NOT RINGING IN YOUR EARS.

Having SAID THAT that, it will be important to simultaneously focus on industry and target increasing credit off take to at least 14 to 15% by the year end. RBI’s intervention to increase liquidity which came just a day after Finance Minister’s package was well targeted and was very much the need of the hour. However, there is an urgent need to infuse money to industry and this, we believe, can be done through enhanced credit. Start the bail out with the Companies having turnover less than two crores – RETURN WITH AN OD LIMIT TO THERE ACCOUNT THE AMOUNT OF TAX PAID IN THREE BALANCE SHEETS. And for the Proprietary Firms having turnover upto Rs. 5000000/- please – RETURN WITH AN OD LIMIT THE AMOUNT THEY PAID YOU AS GST.

Our recommendation therefore is for all banks to provide additional working capital to all companies, equivalent to their three-month salary/wage bill at an interest rates between 4% to 5%. This would need to be guaranteed by the government so that it can step in and back stop the banks in case the companies fail to pay up and RBI can provide a refinance guarantee on the same too. Further, we would recommend that in some of the stressed sectors like construction, aviation or tourism, the additional working capital needs to cover their interest obligation as well.

ONLY this way, industry would get the much-required support to overcome the current crisis of payments of salaries and wages without directly impacting the fiscal health. At the present moment, the balance has to be struck between the imperatives of preserving the importance of health, economy and society. Naturally, the overriding consideration has to be that of health of the population, which should be followed by the economic requirements, such that the impact on social conditions are not of negative nature.

While the lock down continues, plans have to be made for calibrated opening of sectors, beyond the ones, which are operational by virtue of being essential services. In the first phase, we recommend that manufacturing, e-commerce and construction may be permitted to open up partially, perhaps 15% to begin with AND FOLLOWED WEEKLY BY 10% ADDITION. In phase 2, all other sectors could be restarted. Again, this can be 25% to begin with, then 50% and 100% at a later stage. I proposes the following five aspects to be considered while opening up the economy from the current lock down - Workplace Safety MEDICATED, Logistics issues PHASE WISE, Re-starting industry in phases NOT ALL AT ONCE, Getting Back the Migrant Work Force WITH EASE, Institutional Mechanism for Effective Coordination on Real Time Basis 

CONCLUSION: Are you with people, then there is no alternatives, you can add more. This will help you achieve the downfall as victorious. And, the person like you Mr Prime Minister Shri Narendra Damodar das Modi will love to win. This is the time, not to request people to help, just show them that – You are there, and see they will follow by helping each other. You are not giving any security to people, means, you and your chair despite having expenses of Billion Dollars on PR is “Not Secured”. Take my advice or not its upto you. Because, as you love my Country, I love your Country twice more then you do, so gave it, take it, will be useful.

(Dr . Ajay Kumar is a Chairman and Managing director of Fox petroleum )

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