Curtail non-essential activity that requires workers’ presence: Kotak to industry

Uday Kotak urged the industry to “curtail all non-essential economic activity requiring physical presence of employees at the workplace, for the next two weeks.

Even as the government has gone against the idea of announcing a full-scale nationwide lockdown in a bid to ensure livelihood, India Inc is voluntarily looking to curb non-essential economic activity over the next two weeks.

On Monday, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) president Uday Kotak urged the industry to “curtail all non-essential economic activity requiring physical presence of employees at the workplace, for the next two weeks. This is necessary to break the chain of transmission. Industry should review operations and minimise the use of in-person manpower, limiting it to only critical operations or activities required by law. All responsible corporates should strive to protect their employees and ensure that their employee balance sheet remains healthy.”

While many auto majors have already suspended production (or advanced annual maintenance) in their plants till May 9 or even more in certain cases, industry insiders feel that more companies are expected to go for suspension of production at their plants in the coming days. On Monday, Mahindra & Mahindra announced to advance its annual maintenance plant shutdown in May. It said that the four-day shutdown would be in a staggered manner across its automotive division manufacturing plants.

Earlier, Maruti Suzuki, Hero MotoCorp, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India, Toyota Kirloskar Motors, MG Motors, Suzuki Motorcycle and JCB India among others had already announced temporary suspension at their production facilities in the wake of rising Covid cases.

Coming out with a fresh prescription for the industry, Kotak suggested voluntary measures that include minimising all economic activity that requires in person presence at the work premises for the next two weeks; reviewing all critical operations and re-design the workflow to the extent possible to minimise the requirement of physical presence of employees; making testing available for employees whose presence at the workplace is necessary for critical operations; and making quarantine facilities available for infected employees.

He pointed that inspite of all efforts, the overall numbers continue to rise and the healthcare system and medical personnel are stretched to the limit and exhausted. “Measures to break the chain of transmission are of paramount importance to mitigate human tragedy and loss of lives, alongside augmenting health infrastructure and medical supplies,” said Kotak.

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