Coronavirus: Industry leaders trace route back to normalcy in Karnataka; submit report
Several industry leaders in Karnataka, including billionaire entrepreneur Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Hari Menon, Founder of BigBasket, and Bhavish Aggarwal, CEO of Ola, among others, on Thursday submitted a proposal to the Government of Karnataka on ways to revive the state’s economy after the coronavirus threat abates.
"Karnataka has done very well during the lockdown. They have been following zoning, and cordoning off affected areas to bring the spread under control. They have ensured that essentials are made available to these zones too," said Anil Shetty, an independent investment banker and social entrepreneur in a report entitled Rebound Karnataka.
On the whole, the report asks for calibrated opening of activities and transportation, along with collection of more data before opening up the state.
The report further states that the reopening plan should prioritise the following:
1 . Managing the risk of outbreak, including testing & surveillance
2. Protecting the economically vulnerable segments of society
3. Increase production of essential goods and services
4. Resuming productive economic activities, such as manufacturing plants and farming activity
5. Maintaining social harmony with proper communication to people about the crisis
Must prioritise urban infrastructure project completion
The report makes several infrastructure-related recommendations to the government of Karnataka during the coronavirus lockdown, such as completing pending projects. A lack of traffic and other human activity could make it cheaper for such projects to be completed, the report says, while construction work could provide a valuable source of income to the vulnerable segments of the population. Upgradation of roads, flyovers, tunnels, water and sewage pipe networks, electricity lines and fibre-optic cables can also be expedited during the lockdown period, the report says.
"The government needs to help businesses. This event is perhaps the most unexpected and we are talking to State and Central leaders over protecting business and keeping jobs," said Kris Gopalakrishnan, Co-Founder of Infosys, and chairman of Axilor Ventures in Bengaluru.
Testing more widely
Medical authorities all over the world have said that increasing coronavirus surveillance is the fastest way to contain the outbreak, and the report adds its voice to that recommendation as well.
The report proposes making public transport safer by ensuring that all vehicles are disinfected, testing for the virus in workplaces, and creating mobile field testing units that can carry out random rapid antibody, and RT-PCR tests essential for identifying the Covid-19 virus.
Till date, Karnataka has reported 313 cases, 13 deaths and 82 discharges, according the state’s health department.
Edited by Aparajita Saxena