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After lockdown, phased reopening: Authorities should proactively work to restart industry and businesses


There should be a change in mindset, where local authorities are expected not only to check the spread of pandemic but also proactively work to restart industry and businesses and be accountable for it. They should be asked to speedily restart businesses to help create jobs.

By Dhanendra Kumar

One of the most relevant quotes on the commencement of the nation-wide lockdown in March was “we are closed for renovation, grand reopening soon”. In his stirring address to the nation on May 12, his fifth in 54 days, PM Modi exhorted the country to convert this unprecedented calamity into an opportunity to do something extraordinary. He recalled that the 21st century belongs to India, and we have to face the crisis with renewed confidence and rebuild India into a ‘self-reliant’ nation with the unwavering resolve of its 130-crore people. He gave a call for ‘local,’ and for being ‘vocal’ about it and making it ‘global’. He outlined his strategy for building ‘this magnificent building of self-reliant India that stands on five pillars’.

First, the economy, which brings a quantum rather than incremental jump.
Second, infrastructure, which became the identity of modern India.
Third, our system, based on technology-driven and modern systems.
Fourth, our vibrant demography.
Fifth, our demand, the cycle of demand and supply chain, harnessed to its full potential.

He announced a total economic package of a staggering Rs 20 lakh crore, an unprecedented 10% of our national GDP. He also announced that while ‘corona will become part of our lives for a long time’ and that we must ‘wear masks and maintain a two yards distance’, the ‘fourth phase of the lockdown will be completely redesigned with new rules.’

Indeed, we have to learn to live with corona for quite some time, and redesign our lifestyle accordingly, where social distancing is going to be the new norm. As announced by the PM in his clarion call, we have to work with a renewed confidence for rebuilding a new, self-reliant India, occupying its rightful place in the global comity of nations.

This article attempts to deal with the fifth pillar in the PM’s address in some detail. If we look at the experiences of countries around us, e-commerce has played a big role in harnessing the cycle of demand and supply to its full potential.

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