Link missing to start economic activities from April 20 despite green signal from government
India’s automotive sector appeared in two minds whether to resume production from April 20 or observe temporary shutdown till May 3.
While the Centre on Wednesday announced the opening up of many sectors of activity from April 20, there was confusion on the status of their allied segments, without which they would hardly get any relief.
Take the decision to allow electricians, plumbers, mechanics, carpenters and IT repair agents to work from April 20. Assume you hire an electrician to replace a faulty tube light and fix a fan regulator. Where will he get them from? The local trader of course. But there is no clarity on whether traders in electrical wares can open their shops.
“There is no clarity on the traders dealing in such items. It appears that all such shops will remain closed even after April 20. How then can a carpenter or electrician work without them?” asks Ramesh Tyagi, an NCR-based contractor who provides services to electricians and carpenters.
The free movement of these self-employed people is another grey area. Whether or not they would need e-passes is not clear.
Similar confusion persists in the construction sector. While the government allowed the resumption of construction activity with certain limitations, there was no word on cement outlets and construction material shops.
Narender Singh, a cement trader in Noida, says while the resumption of construction of units that were stalled due to the lockdown has been given the green light, “there is no clarity on whether hardware shops will be open.”
Likewise, transporters say the movement of vehicles carrying non-essential loads has picked a bit, but there is a shortage of loading and unloading labourers.
“Booking offices, godowns, factories and warehouses must be allowed to open for fresh booking or loading/unloading of goods. Partial opening of the sectors does not help,” said Kultaran Singh Atwal, the president of the All India Motor Transport Congress.
India’s automotive sector appeared in two minds whether to resume production or observe temporary shutdown till May 3. The industry said they haven’t received permission from local bodies yet to resume operations at ‘limited capacity’ though the Centre’s guidelines said manufacturing activity can start from April 20 in non-hotspot areas.
“We are waiting for more clarity on resuming production in Pune and Chennai auto belts as they are very near to the hotspots,” said an industry executive.
Deepak Jain, president of the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association, said, “We are in touch with our customers, the OEMs and resumption of our operations would be aligned to their commencing operations as also on the directions from the local authorities.”
According to industry insiders, big players such as Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai India and Bajaj Auto have reached out to vendors and have started monitoring the situation to restart production. However, vendors are in dilemma.
“We need more clarity on the movement of goods, sourcing of raw materials from hotspot areas, finance availability etc…It will take weeks, if not months to fix the disrupted supply chain,” said the executive.
Similarly, while e-commerce platforms received the green signal to deliver non-essential items, there are challenges aplenty on its execution.
According to industry executives, there is a lack of clarity on the operations of third-party sellers dealing in non-essential items. For instance, several larger retailers have their warehouses in containment areas and it is not yet known if they will be allowed to function.
“There are ambiguities in the guidelines on whether our warehouses will be allowed to operate,” said Alisha Malik, VP (marketing and e-commerce), Metro Shoes.