Exodus of workers, logistical hurdles hurting business, India Inc to govt

Mass exodus of workers, transportation bottlenecks and harassment by local authorities continue to hamper industrial production just four days before the national blockade of 21 days, India Inc told government.

The issues were the main concerns raised by the industry during a meeting with Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal held by videoconference on Saturday. Multiple sources indicated that the issue of seizure of goods and restrictions on the movement of industrial and consumer goods imposed by local authorities was the main complaint. The meeting was attended by 16 national and regional industrial organizations and sectoral commercial lobbies.

In addition to industrial products, stakeholders said that key groceries and fast-moving essential consumer goods were blocked.

The companies said the center could mobilize resources to help provide additional transportation facilities to the industry when existing channels had shrunk. “Small businesses depend on vehicles to source, move and distribute products. With the widespread panic of being beaten by the police, many companies have found it difficult to move their stocks, “said a senior official at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

The companies also asked the Minister to ensure better coordination between the Center and the States to implement these measures because local authorities were often not aware of the directives of the Union’s Interior Ministry.

However, Goyal is reported to have said that the government’s updated instructions make it clear that the movement of all types of goods would not be restricted and assured that local authorities would ensure it.

Loss of work

Industry has asked for government help to stem the mass exodus of workers – both permanent and casual – from industrial areas to the countryside. “While some companies have started providing workers with accommodation and food, it is not possible to extend this to all workers. As a result, the government has been asked to use facilities like schools, which are closed, to house them, “said a senior auto industry official present at the meeting.

The government has struggled to stem the flow of workers. Minister of Maritime Transport Mansukh Mandaviya, also present at the videoconference, insisted on keeping workers and workers on the companies’ pay lists. He said the migration would jeopardize the lockdown and also reduce the chances of early normalization after the virus has passed.

“CII mobilized a coalition of manufacturers in collaboration with other industry associations. Manufacturers will produce and procure medical equipment, including respirators, masks and personal protective equipment for medical personnel and other emergency services, “said Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General of the ICN. As a result, CII asked the government to consider temporarily removing customs duties on the items and their inputs.

A follow-up meeting is scheduled for next week to take stock of the situation, sources said.


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