These industries can restart their operations from April 20 as per new guidelines
The Union Home Ministry has come out with detailed guidelines on which business establishments can be reopened from April 20. The development spells good news for ecommerce marketplaces like Flipkart and Amazon, while the services of cab aggregators, including Uber and Ola, will continue to remain suspended.
The statement from the Home Ministry said, “To mitigate the hardship to the public, select additional activities have been allowed which will come into effect from April 20, 2020.” However, these establishments will have to bear in mind the standard operating procedures of social distancing and maintain a very strong vigil on hygiene.
These measures come as the first step towards gradual opening up of the economy, with concerns raised on the impact of the extended lockdown.
Below are some of the sectors which stand to benefit from the revised guidelines:
Ecommerce, retail, kirana stores
The guidelines of the government clearly state all the facilities in the supply chain of essential goods, whether involved in manufacturing, wholesale or retail of such goods through local stores, large brick and mortar stores or ecommerce companies, will be allowed to operate without any restriction on their timing of opening or closure.
Welcoming these guidelines, a spokesperson of the Flipkart Group said, “Flipkart group is continuously working to ensure that customers have access to products as India fights this unprecedented battle. In line with the guidelines announced by the Government of India and also in collaboration with all State Governments & local authorities, we will continue to serve consumers to promote Social Distancing through our sanitised supply chain, contactless deliveries, and healthy and safe last-mile delivery process.”
The ease of restrictions will also impact shops like kirana stores, carts which are in business on the sale of food, groceries, fruits and vegetables, meat and hygiene items.
According to Flipkart, it has been collaborating with the retail ecosystem, including kirana stores, to ensure the supply of essentials at the doorstep of consumers. This would also mean that vehicles used by ecommerce companies will be allowed to ply with necessary permissions.
A spokesperson of Snapdeal said, “We welcome MHA’s updated guidelines for the ecommerce sector. At this critical juncture, the ecommerce industry can ensure that citizens stay indoors and all their needs are met through home deliveries with immense precautions.”
All goods traffic will be allowed to ply, which also includes air cargo, allowing easier movement of products.
IT industry, hardware, manufacturing
The government has enabled the IT industry and IT-enabled services (BPOs) to operate at a maximum of 50 percent strength. This should come as a big boost for the industry which has moved to work from home mode ever since the lockdown was announced.
IT hardware will be allowed to resume manufacturing, bringing relief as with more employees observing work from home, there is increased demand for computers, mobile phones, and related accessories.
Welcoming this decision, Manufacturers' Association of Information Technology (MAIT) President Nitin Kunkolienker said, “This move was the need of the hour as all digital and communication highways are built using electronic and ICT products; this was extremely essential as all utilities need these products otherwise imports would have catered to this pent up demand for ICT products estimated at $2.5 billion per month.”
Besides, manufacturing and other industrial establishments with access control in special economic zones (SEZs), export-oriented units, industrial estates, and industrial townships have been permitted to function.
All agricultural activities are to be fully operational, which include farming operations by farmers, farmworkers and agencies working in the procurement of agriculture products. This also includes opening up establishments which are related to agriculture like fertilizers, machinery etc.
Tea, coffee, and rubber plantations, with a maximum 50 percent employees, will be allowed to start their operations. Animal husbandry and fisheries are also permitted to resume their operations.
RBI and its regulated financial markets, like NPCI, CCI, payment system operators, Bank branches and ATMs will be open.
Online teaching and distance education is encouraged, even though educational establishments are closed. The institutions are expected to maintain academic schedule through online teaching.
The opening of these business establishments will also mean that all workplaces should have adequate arrangements for temperature screening and provide sanitisers.
Workplaces are required to have a gap of one hour between shifts, with staggered lunch breaks. There will also be frequent cleaning of common surfaces and provide intensive communication on hygiene.
Also, other critical services like electricians, IT repairs, plumbers, motor mechanics and carpenters will be allowed to resume their services.
Edited by Kanishk Singh