As we know, Coronavirus has been looming about in India for the past month or so and due to it’s highly communicable nature, the Government felt the need to implement a lockdown, and rightly so, as it would help curb the spread.
The lockdown was applied on the 24th of March and it was proposed at that point of time, that the lockdown could be concluded on the 15th of April. On the 14th of April, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation, and during this address he announced that the lockdown would be further increased till the 3rd of May. Owing to the rise of Covid-19 cases in India, this was expected yet it still came as a major shock for the industries of the country who were expecting a relaxation from such lockdown.
These industries have remained vacant and are stagnating due to no production and meagre sales. Luckily, a new set of guidelines were issued post the telecast of the Prime Minister’s addressal, and according to these guidelines, a few industries would be allowed to function, however, the Auto Industry did not find its name in the list of industries who would be restarting production and this was quite deplorable.
In a turn of events though, Maruti has been allowed to resume production in their Manesar plant situated in Haryana. This would come as a respite to the country’s largest automaker, but they are allowed to so, provided they follow certain conditions. The district administration expects the automaker to allow only single shifts, and the working staff must follow key social distancing norms and hygiene.
It is being suggested that the factory can bring in only 4,696 staff workers, who would be working on not more than 50 vehicles. Failing to follow these rules, the Government of India would take strict action and reprimand the company. Maruti has been waiting for this permission to be granted, but Mr. Bhargava former CEO and current chairman of Maruti Suzuki India has made a statement saying that operations will not be resumed until they are allowed to maintain continuous production.
It is rather unfortunate that Mr. Bhargava believes that production cannot be restarted, yes the working strength and production time is not enough for a large scale company like Maruti, but this is a staggered opening for them. Obviously, the government cannot allow them to engage in ‘continuous production’ in these circumstances. On the other hand, it does seem to be the correct measure from a cost-benefit standpoint for the company while aiding the safety of it’s workers.
Maruti Suzuki India has another plant in Gurugram, which has not engaged in any production since the 22nd of March, nor have they received any permission to begin working post the new guidelines being implemented. Maruti and other automakers would be hoping for the Government to relax a few of the lockdown rules after the 3rd of May, which would allow the auto industries to begin working again.
However, lately there has been a surge in Covid-19 cases especially in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi. The Prime Minister will be interacting with the CM’s of the different states on the 27th of April, it is entirely possible that the PM could address the nation once again by next week. The automakers would have their fingers crossed, hoping to receive some respite from the lockdown.