Since the nationwide lockdown has been extended till 3 May, it’s bound to affect the economy in various ways. Hence the government is trying to look into resuming industries that will be well within the parameters of social distancing. As well as get some work for the labourers. Highway construction work is the first to kickstart some kind of economic activity after a lockdown period of 21 days.
The union minister for road and transport, Nitin Gadkari, said that getting labourers would be difficult to resume work because many of the migrant workers have left for their village. There is also still the fear of the COVID-19 pandemic among the people. But if the word goes around of assured work and payment as well as safety measures, which is paramount. The workers are sure to heed the plea and come back to work again.
If there is a go-ahead to begin work, the first touchdown would be the Dwarka express highway that would be resumed. Necessary restrictions will be in place since the extension of the lockdown seems inevitable due to the slight increase in cases in most of the states. As a precautionary measure, the rules have further suggested the extension. The government is planning to lift the curbs on the construction activity gradually, and such a proposal is mooted up during the discussion of the officials.
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When the construction activity resumes, other supportive industries such as cement, steel, etc. will be running as well. The government has also looked into easing the cash crunch in the construction companies.
During the lockdown, the various industries may get a chance to start their operations. News has percolated that 15 more industries are going to be part of the lockdown exit strategy. The trucks which carry essential services and goods along with repair services have been given the go-ahead sign. Street vendors, too, may get a chance to operate as well.
Some of the large and small scale sectors are on the list for permission to operate provided they ensure the mandatory social distancing. The entities which are chosen to operate can ask their workers to report for duty. Though only a minimum workforce is allowed for the operations with a single shift basis will be the way for easing into the working environment. The government is in a testing mode of letting only a few industries at a time to operate so that an over-enthusiasm to save the economy should not result in loss of human lives and spread the pandemic more.
Other industries that can start operations are
- Cement plants with three shifts have been permitted
- Pulp and paper production is allowed in clusters (The places which have a low rate of spread COVD-19 have been given permission)
- Fertilizer plants
- Paints and dyes manufacturers
- All types of food and beverages
- Seed processing units
- Plastic manufacturing units
- Automotive units
- Gems and jewellery sectors
All the units that come under SEZ (Special Economic Zones) as well the export-oriented units can be permitted to begin operation keeping in mind the sanitisation and social distancing norms.
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There are still a lot under discussion for allowing so many other sectors which haven’t been given the green signal yet such as the housing and construction, movement of vehicles used for transportation have not still been given a complete go-ahead. There has to be complete sanitation of all the public transport, and then only the services can be resumed. They would have to maintain social distancing in public transport, which will be difficult. In housing and construction and other big companies such as textiles, automobiles, and electronics make use of migrant labour. They need proper facilities and safeguards if they have to come back to work. Till then, the government may take time to allocate permission to run these sectors in full swing.
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