The Modi government has extended the lockdown in India for another 2 weeks till May 3rd, 2020. This has been done anticipating a peak in the coronavirus cases and to mitigate the risks. The previous lockdown was successful as India was able to slow the progression of the active cases. It remains to be seen how this second lockdown will show results.
Keeping in mind the economic costs of a lockdown, the government has put in place certain guidelines for restarting industry post the 20th of April after reviewing the number of cases in rural and industrial districts.
Additionally, the government has allowed IT and e-commerce firms to operate during this lockdown. Agriculture and allied activities, which employ a large part of India’s unorganized labor, will also be opened up gradually.
What is important now is to open up slowly, but very safely. The issue is of a tradeoff between managing health safety and the economic costs. If safety and hygiene measures are put into place along with social distancing rules, we may be able to kick start some of our manufacturing units and help the daily wage earners and blue collar workers and kick start the engine of industry again.
The Modi government is trying its best to manage both situations given its resources. It remains to be seen how this will play out.