PM Narendra Modi and Home Ministry to take final call on lifting lockdown. (Photo Credit: News Nation Photo)
PM Narendra Modi Government is planning to restart some economic activity as government is planning to restart some manufacturing after April 15 to help offset the economic damage of a nationwide coronavirus lockdown. The 21-day lockdown of India's more than 1.3 billion people is due to end on Tuesday, but the government is widely expected to extend it until the end of the month.
One of the sources in government said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had directed some ministries to come up with plans to open up some crucial industries as the livelihoods of the poor were being hit. The source said the government was considering allowing the resumption of some operations under guidelines that were being drawn up.
While the decision on the lockdown is work in progress, the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had been very clear that it should not sequester millions of people from 161 districts that do not have a single case of coronavirus disease. Not even a suspected case. Health ministry data indicated the four worst-affected states are Maharashtra, Delhi, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan. These four states account for nearly half of India’s Covid-19 cases.
The industries ministry has recommended restarting some manufacturing in the autos, textiles, defence, electronics and other sectors. The Industry ministry said in the letter, addressed to the home ministry, that this could be achieved via reduced shifts with lower staff numbers to ensure social distancing. The home ministry and the Prime Minister's Office are likely to take a final call on the recommendations this week, the sources said.
The sources also said that other ministries would soon submit plans on allowing partial resumptions in other sectors. India's economy, which was already growing at its slowest pace in six years before the onset of the coronavirus, is set to take a severe hit amid the lockdown, say economists, who warn that unemployment could rise to record levels. The lockdown resulted in many thousands of daily wage labourers losing their jobs in cities and leaving to return to their homes, raising the risk of spreading the coronavirus into the countryside.