The Indian Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi addressed the nation on Tuesday and announced a complete lockdown in the country for the next three weeks. All establishments are to be shut down except essential services in the country. Here are all government notifications sent to businesses this week. A summary of the announcements made on Tuesday and the highlights of the relief package by the Indian Finance Minister, Ms Nirmala Sitharaman, can be found here.
This is history’s biggest ever lockdown with 1.3 billion people being told to stay indoors. All railways, air spaces, religious trusts which have never been closed are now shut down until 14 April 2020. This is likely to push the country’s growth rates to a three-decade low.
The CBI India office is feeding into the British High Commission Department of International Trade taskforce on Covid-19. Any issues and challenges raised by our members to assess the business impact of Covid -19 on British businesses in India are now being addressed at relevant Indian government departments by the British High Commission on a G2G basis. If you are facing any issues because of the lockdown, please get in touch.
This weekly reporting system will help them understand the overall impact on UK-India business, where HMG and DIT support is needed and highlight immediate issues that need to be escalated.
The country’s investment nodal agency, Invest India, has launched its own Business Immunity Platform designed as a comprehensive resource to help businesses and investors get real-time updates on India’s active response to COVID-19 (coronavirus). This live platform keeps regular track on developments in the control of the virus, provides the latest information on various central and state government initiatives, gives access to special provisions, and answers and resolves queries.
Here are some business highlights linked to the coronavirus outbreak:
Confusion related to definition of ‘essential services’
Businesses are grappling with the changed circumstances and inconsistency in state government orders about what constitutes ‘essential services’. IT/ITES/Banking and financial services sectors are facing challenging on-ground interpretation of orders for lockdown and permissions for essential services, with some workers facing police action on their way to work. The CBI has flagged this to the British High Commission taskforce for Covid-19 and this also finds place in the CII recommendations to the Indian government.
Private labs allowed to test for Covid-19
Anticipating large numbers will need testing, the Government of India has now allowed 50-60 accredited private labs in the country to test for the virus.
Packaged foods business get support from central government
The food processing ministry on Thursday sent an advisory to states under a nationwide lockdown to allow manufacturing, transport, distribution and retail of packaged foods and beverages.
NPPA for ensuring smooth manufacturing for pharma
After effective lobbying by the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority has directed all chief secretaries of states to ensure unobstructed movement of people, raw materials, finished products for all pharma and medical devices manufacturers.