With the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the country, some states have announced restrictions in movement while some are mulling lockdown possibilities. The Maharashtra Cabinet has announced a curfew across Maharashtra from 8 pm on April 14 till 7 am on 1 May. On 20 April, the government decided to impose a stricter lockdown at least for 15 days, starting from 8 pm on Wednesday. Delhi has announced a complete lockdown in the city for 6 days starting from 10 pm on Monday to 5 am on April 26.
Mohandas Pai, Chairman of Manipal Global Education (Manipal University), says with the economy back on growth curve, announcing lockdowns or restrictions all over a state will impact people as it will impact economic activity.
Like several other states, Karnataka has declared a complete curfew on weekends and during nights to curb the rise in COVID cases. Pai suggested that restrictions imposed in areas where COVID-19 cases are on the high would be one of the ways out.
“The situation is not as bleak as in the first round and cases are flattening in several parts of the country,” he said.
In his address to the nation on Tuesday evening, Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasised on micro-containment zones instead of a nationwide lockdown. He said, "In today's situation, we have to save the country from lockdown. I appeal to the states that they should use lockdown as the last option. Try as much as possible to protect yourselves from lockdown. Focus on micro-containment zones.”
People have lost their jobs and savings too, due to the national lockdown, Pai said, “The lower middle class will lose jobs and the chances of getting another job are very bleak. Migrants will be on the streets. Let people not suffer any more,“ Pai said.
There have been news reports about the rising number of cheques bouncing. According to Fitch Ratings, bad loans and credit costs are expected to rise among Indian banks as money policies to shore up a pandemic-battered economy may start to tighten.
Pai said one of the ways to provide relief for those paying EMIs was to allow them to stagger payments for a month.
The Central government has offered its employees the option to work from home and options in office timings in light of the rising COVID-19 cases. “If government offices can work at 50 percent capacity, so should private organisations,” Pai said.
He said the March quarter was good for businesses but there will be a dip in April. “I expect things to improve in May. The government should wait till mid-May before announcing relief measures,” stated the former director of Infosys.