Government’s lockdown 2.0 strategies are a welcome move. The prime minister in his speech has beautifully indicated the Governments strategy for managing life and livelihood of the people – “ Jaan bhi Jahan bhi.” Government has kick started few activities so that the economy starts moving and is slowly addressing the problem of unemployment of migrant laboureres stuck in the cities on one hand and ramping up supplies of essential goods including medical, groceries, vegetables, fruits and milk products on the other hand. They have also widened the basket of goods and services by including fast moving consumer goods products in the essentials basket.
It left India’s most vulnerable migrant laborers stranded as all stakeholders panicked and reacted with anxiety.
If one reviews the impact of lockdown 1.0 we can conclude that the whole focus was to minimize the impact of Covid-19 on health and wellbeing of people and protecting lives. It left India’s most vulnerable migrant laborers stranded as all stakeholders panicked and reacted with anxiety. Migrants were forced to leave the city flouting all rules of social distancing. The risk of the disease spreading to the villages increased. It exposed the problem of a poor economy, and need to manage the livelihood and basic existence of this population along with the rising threats of corona virus.
The lockdown 1.0 affected logistics industry in a big way. The whole logistics economy came to a stand still. Surface transport, air cargo and sea ports all came to a standstill. The police where not instructed to allow interstate movements of trucks, the truck drivers were beaten, delivery boys and vans for pharma supplies were stopped and badly treated. Government did move quickly to allow e-passes and allowed movement of essential supplies. Amidst this, drivers parked vehicles and walked away to their villages. Various markets, consumers, and suppliers were disconnected. According to a report, e-commerce suspended their operations. 35000 supermarkets were impacted. In 82 pin codes supplies were stopped, which further increased due to hot spots and clusters. Manufacturing activities also collapsed impacting the logistics industry in a big way. This meant the whole supply chain, not just logistics, did not have the manpower to operate factory or trucks or move materials and finished products.
This turned out to be a one of kind situation pandemic because of a supply chain disruption which slowly turned out to affect the consumer demand due to its spread. This led to closure of factories, supplier base and fall in demand. Indian government faced a big challenge – they needed to both protect life and livelihoods for all its citizens. They have opened factories; freed transport for both essential and non-essentials, construction work with existing workers have been allowed. The shelves in retail stores which were going empty or were replaced by local brands and were having stock outs now can see supplies increasing for all the essentials and FMCG products in demand. The freeing of commercial transport and opening of the Dhabas will slowly see the industry employing 40 million and USD 200 billion starting its recovery journey.
Corporates, construction firms, and logistics firms will have to ensure workers social distancing, insurance,and stay, in the short run to attract manpower and help lockdown 2.0 becomes a success to help India balance Jaan and Jahan. Lots needs to be done but a good beginning will help. ♦♦♦♦♦