Assocham recommends graded opening of economy

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New Delhi, April 11 (IANS) Sectors like construction where sufficient labor is already at the site, export-oriented units, government offices, e-commerce, and agriculture are the sectors that should be opened in the first phase when the country starts reopening economic activities, industry body Assocham said on Saturday.

In the report, titled "India opening for Business–Suggested calibrated approach and potential SoP," the industry body outlined detailed Standard Operating Procedures for resuming the most vital sectors of the economy.

"As the Rabi harvest is picking up, necessitating the workforce to be in the fields along with Agri machinery, it is imperative to facilitate the most important activity which has provided the food security to the country," Assocham Secretary General Deepak Sood said in a statement.

"This sector certainly needs the maximum of national resources and commitment. It is good to see several states responding very well to the sector," Sood added.

IT, IT-enabled Services (ITeS), professional services, food retailing and hotels can follow while the retail, transport -including bus services and airlines should be the next to open up, said the report.

Wider international operations can take place towards the end of the graded lockdown exit, it added.

Giving the topmost priority to the safety of the workforce and all other stakeholders, the SOP suggested mandatory medical check-up to be arranged for all employees and contract workers with repeat tests every month, till the pandemic is completely rooted out.

Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy on Saturday said that most CMs across the country emphasized on the extension of the 21-day nationwide lockdown for two more weeks, during their videoconference meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Odisha, Punjab, Maharashtra and West Bengal have extended the lockdown till the end of April.

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