While extending India's lockdown Modi hinted at a calibrated re-opening of economy, say experts

While extending India's lockdown Modi hinted at a calibrated re-opening of economy, say experts

  • Keki Mistry, the CEO of HDFC sees April 20 relaxations as a ‘calibrated re-opening of the economy’.
  • “Now the priority is safety and food security that was spoken about and opening up of essentials,” said Sangita Reddy, JMD of Apollo Hospitals.
  • “There are shortages as far as consumers are concerned. Unless situation changes there will be more shortages,” said Harsh Mariwala, chairman of Marico.
  • “I am very relieved that norms are tightened further. People have started to take it easy,” said Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, the chairman of Biocon.

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended lockdown, he also promised that there would be relaxation in ‘some’ areas where Covid-19 has not spread from April 20 onwards. This is the ray of hope that many economists and business leaders have been hoping for.

Keki Mistry, the CEO of HDFC sees this as a ‘calibrated re-opening of the economy’, which has been shut down for the last one month. Modi indicated that measures will be tightened at the many hotspots which have been identified, leaving room for them to relax them in others where the virus has not spread.

“By the April 20 announcement, it seems that it is a calibrated reopening of the economy is to happen. What exactly will be reopened is what is to be seen,” Mistry told CNBCTV18.

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Modi also stressed on food security and the key to this is ensuring farming activity to carry on. Already states like Tamil Nadu allowed farmers to ensure Rabi crop is harvested. The Prime Minister too said that they are trying to reduce issues that farmers face.

“Now the priority is safety and food security that was spoken about and opening up of essentials. Third aspect is economic safety. More clarity will emerge in the next five days. I completely support phased opening of the lockdown. How we can juxtapose it with the economic package, has to be seen,” said Sangita Reddy, joint managing director of Apollo Hospitals.

Experts are also hoping for a second stimulus package that can help industries get back to normalcy as many like airlines, hospitality and others who have been heavily affected. As of now, the government announced ₹1.75 lakh crore economic package which mainly veered towards helping people like daily wagers and those below the poverty line who have been affected.

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No price is too high to keep Indians safe: Modi

India’s slogan to fight the pandemic is ‘Jaan bhi, jahan bhi’ which translates to saving lives and livelihoods. “The lockdown is an expensive decision but no price is too high to keep Indians safe,” said Modi.

However, his relaxation, the details of which will emerge tomorrow, is the light at the end of the tunnel for many companies. “We are not operating anywhere near full capacity. There are shortages as far as consumers are concerned. Unless situation changes there will be more shortages,” said Harsh Mariwala, chairman of Marico.

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Health and business experts alike have been expecting the government to open the country in a phased manner as the number of infections surged in the last two weeks. When the first lockdown was announced, the numbers of infections were at around 550 which is now at over 10,000 leaving 339 dead.

“I am happy that there has been tightening further and there has been a surge of cases. People are not understanding the importance of checking and stopping the spread. They have started to take it easy. I am very relieved that norms are tightened further,” said Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, the chairman of Biocon.



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See also: Prime Minister Narendra Modi extends Coronavirus lockdown until May 3
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