Bikky Khosla | 13 Apr, 2021
The second wave of Covid-19 is now sweeping over the
country, with the new cases count crossing 1.5 lakhs for the
first time on April 11. Stock market indices are plummeting on concerns of
fresh localised lockdowns. Foreign portfolio investors are pulling out investments
worth crores of rupees from the bourses. The INR is continuing to depreciate,
breaching the 75 per US dollar mark. Such developments have brought forth the question
again – is our economy being derailed?
The Indian industry is concerned as
well, with recent findings clearly reflecting this apprehension. According to a
latest CII survey 75 per cent of the 710 CEOs polled are of the view that this
time emphasis should be given on stringent implementation of safety norms instead
of going for restrictions and partial lockdowns, which may lead to massive loss
of their production. Also, the ongoing vaccination drive should be pushed vigorously.
No doubt, this view holds weight.
In a similar tone, a garment industry body
has urged the government to keep factories free from lockdowns. It also requested
for essential service sector tag for the labour-intensive apparel export sector.
The body adds that the industry got back on track only recently and now renewed
lockdowns may make last one year of hard work fruitless. This concern seems to
be applicable to other sectors as well, and the government should pay heed to
it. We need to tackle the pandemic in a smarter way this time.
Meanwhile, a small business report based
on global data points out that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in India have
reported higher rates of closure than their global peers, with 32 per cent
(rising from 24 per cent in October and dropping from 46 per cent in May)
reporting they were closed at the time of the survey. This happened despite the
Centre doing a lot for the sector during the pandemic period. So, this time a change
in approach is what we all call for.
I invite your opinions.