Covid-19: PM Modi Asks Industries Not To Cut Jobs, Despite Negative Business Impact
20:18 GMT 23.03.2020
New Delhi (Sputnik): Last week, during his national address in view of the coronavirus disease Covid-19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced setting up a Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman-headed task force to assess impact of the pandemic on the country's economy.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday held a meeting with captains of the industry on the economic impact of Covid-19, which has also shaken other countries.
Maintaining that the impact of Covid-19 will be felt for some time, Modi urged industrialists to adapt a humanitarian approach and not resort to job cuts.
In his remarks to the industry during the video interaction, Prime Minister Modi advocated letting employees work from home, saying: "Allow employees to work from home wherever doing so is feasible through use of technology. Adopt a humanitarian approach and not cut down on workforce in spite of the negative impact on businesses."
Stating that several sectors like tourism, construction, hospitality and daily life engagements, including the informal sector, have been hit due to COVID-19, he said: "The impact on the economy will be felt for some time to come."
The Indian industry was represented by various associations such as Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Assocham, along with several local chambers from 18 cities -- all connected to Modi via video conferencing in view of the country presently being under a partial lockdown due to Covid-19 fears.
The industry associations assured the prime minister that they will maintain a steady supply of essential goods so that the citizens do not face problems.
"They informed the Prime Minister about the steps being taken by them to maintain supply of essential items and medical equipment including ventilators, assistance in creation of isolation wards, utilization of corporate social responsibility funds for combating COVID-19 and provision of assistance to migrant labour," the prime minister's office (PMO) revealed in a statement after the meeting.
Among industrialists participating in the interaction with Modi were Assocham President Niranjan Hiranandani, Tata Sons Chairman N. Chandrasekaran, Medanta – The Medicity chairman and managing director (CMD), Naresh Trehan, and Kotak Mahindra Bank MD Uday Kotak, among others.
Today's meeting was the second such meeting by Modi with industry leaders, coming two days after a similar meeting with the top bosses of the Indian pharmaceutical industry.
During his interaction in the 21 March meeting, Modi asked the pharma industry to work on the manufacture of testing kits for Covid-19, but on a war footing. He assured them that the government was committed to maintaining the supply of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API), basic building blocks for medicines. India has been heavily dependent on China for APIs, as 67 percent of the requirement is met from China.
The prime minister also directed the pharmaceutical industry to maintain the supply of essential medicines and prevent black-market profiteering and hoarding.
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