‘Economic package must precede lifting of lockdown’

The CII said prioritisation of the industrial sector was essential for the restart.

The Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) has said that before the lockdown is lifted, adequate notice should be given and an economic package announced.

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Reiterating the industry body’s recommendation of “slow and staggered” reopening, CII Director-General Chandrajit Banerjee said on Sunday that it would be desirable to classify the geography into the red, amber and green zones, based on the incidence of COVID-19.

“The principle should be that we look at opening up in concentric circles around the red zones. The radiating heat map should turn from red in the inside to green on the outside. In other words, ‘Lock inside out’,” he said.

In a statement, the industry body said all facilities that reopen must have health, sanitation and screening systems in place to protect workers. They should also follow thermal check, physical distancing and factory sanitisation. Any enterprise that did not follow these norms on a self-certification basis should be penalised.

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“However, prior to the lifting of the lockdown (which should be decided based on the advice of medical experts), there has to be adequate notice given to all, and along with that, there should be the announcement of an economic package,” it added.

Mr. Banerjee said a more complex point would be whether all industries could open in the green zone and which ones should open in the amber zone, assuming that nothing would be operational in the red zones other than essential services.

The CII said prioritisation of the industrial sector was essential for the restart. In the first stage, textile and apparel, 100% pharmaceutical manufacturing, food processing, minerals and metal units could be opened. In the second, e-commerce, automobile and chemical units could restart. The others could follow the second-stage units one or two weeks later.

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