The Maharashtra government, under Mission Begin Again, expects the reopening of 60,000 industrial units in addition to the already functioning 65,000 units (small, medium and big) in districts where the spread of COVID-19 has been contained. With this, nearly 1.25 lakh industrial units are expected to restart by the first week of July, taking the workers strength to 25 lakhs.
A State Industries Department officer told the Free Press Journal, “Currently, 65,000 units have launched production with the presence of 16 lakh workers. They are from the manufacturing and engineering sector. Already 20,000 units were granted approval, which will restart soon. Another 40,000 units will start by the first week or early second week of July in the state. In addition to the 16 lakh workers, another nine lakh workers will join their duties, taking the total number to 25 lakhs.” He however, admitted that the reopening of IT, ITES and services sector in general will take time, though their employees are working from home.
Leading industrialist Sushil Jiwarajka said one of the major factors is the restoration of the supply chain in which there is a major disruption, particularly from the MSME sector. There are still some ground level issues from the local administration, which are hampering the normal operations of these units.
“The state government needs to give clear instructions to the local administration to facilitate the industrial units in every manner to return to normalcy. All outstanding dues from the government should be cleared at the earliest possible. There should be a weekly interaction with the banks to ensure that they are disbursing the funds to the SME sector,” said Jiwarajka.
The officer said industrial units are getting speedy permissions after self-certification through a portal launched by the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation.
However, IMC industry committee co-chair Dinesh Joshi said that there should be relaxations as far as statutory compliances are concerned so that the industry can function seamlessly. The state government should take a step forward and assist industries in case they face any problem that would lead to the interruption of their functioning.
“As far as workers are concerned, it is not just the responsibility of the state government, but also of that particular industry to ensure that there is proper sanitation and all the hygiene norms are followed to avoid the spread of the virus. The large and medium enterprises should make available options for the workers’ stay in or adjacent to their units,’’ noted Joshi.