CII for economic package before lifting of lockdown

New Delhi, April 12 (IANS) As the industry awaits an economic package to tide over the coronavirus crisis, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has suggested that it should be announced prior to lifting if the lockdown.

Recommending a calibrated lifting of the lockdown, the report titled “Exit From The Lockdown: A CII Strategy”, said the government should give adequate notice before announcing the end of restrictions.
“Prior to the lifting of the lockdown (which should be decided on the 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,” it said.
Calling for a two-fold economy revival package, the CII said, the first part should focus on fiscal expansion, directed towards the bottom of pyramid, and be followed by enhanced credit to industry through banks.
As it was an evolving situation, any alteration of decisions and approach should be accepted, it said.
“A calibrated and safe exit from the lockdown, subject, of course, to considerations being given to the geographical spread of Covid-19 in the country, would be a practical approach. This is an evolving situation and, therefore, we should be open to alter our approach as we go along,” the CII said.
Plans must be for calibrated opening of sectors, beyond the ones, which were operational by virtue of being essential services. “In the first phase, manufacturing, e-commerce and construction may be permitted to open up partially, perhaps 25 per cent, to begin with,” it said.
In the second phase, all other sectors could be restarted and that could begin with 25 per cent, then 50 per cent and 100 per cent at a later stage, it suggested.
The industry body said five aspects should be considered while opening up the economy. The five aspects are workplace safety, logistics issues, re-starting industry in phases, getting back the migrant workforce and institutional mechanism for effective coordination on real-time basis.
“The best way to support the distressed sections of the population would be to provide ration directly rather than cash. This will negate the impact of inflation, if any, and also ensures that the money is indeed spent on food and basic provisions,” it said.
Further, provision of shelter and meals should be made for the needy. “This system is not perfect, since there is always pilferage from the system by miscreants, but these are extraordinary times and the wellbeing of the largest section of the population would have to be kept in mind, even if through an imperfect system,” it said.