Lockdown 4.0 – Unlock e-commerce, provide dignity of labour

THE Dialogue, a public-policy think-tank with a vision to drive a progressive narrative in India’s policy discourse, hosted an online discussion today on the topic ‘Self-reliant India in Lockdown 4.0’.

In response to the two major announcements made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a stimulus package of INR 20 lakh crore and an extension of the lockdown with focus on India’s new stance in the marketplace and industrial policy – ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ – the discussion was organized to seek answers to the question ‘How should India frame the guidelines for Lockdown 4.0 that will ensure business continuity and economic recovery?’

The session moderated by Kazim Rizvi, Founding Director, The Dialogue was presided over by Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha, DNV Senthilkumar S, who was the Chief Guest at the Webinar.

It also had eminent thought leaders like Justice Mukul Mudgal, Retired Chief Justice, Punjab and Haryana High court, Gopal Jain, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India, Sabina Dewan, President and Executive Director, JustJobs Network and Senior Visiting Fellow, Centre for Policy Research, Adnan Ahmad Ansari – Associate Vice President – 9.9 Insights and Rishubh Satiya, Founder, PLIX on the panel.

Dr DNV Senthilkumar S, Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha noted that the government should have given leniency towards the operation of online platforms in order to ensure that people stay at home as well as to make the lockdown successful. It is important to open the online routes to ensure the delivery of services. Safety could be ensured by issuing guidelines and with the help of local authorities. He also noted that it is important to ensure that the relief packages are delivered to the intended industry & citizens, and the spending capacity of the country is enhanced.

“To ensure the safe health and revival of the economy it is important that Lockdown 4.0. is a joint effort between the local and online platforms without hindering the current market system. The move to encourage domestic products is welcomed but it is necessary that it does not come at a cost of globalisation,” said Kazim Rizvi.

The discussion provided insights that would help policymakers frame guidelines which would be beneficial for businesses and industries to help the economy get back on its feet. The speakers discussed the existing uncertainties, expectations and other issues related to the concept of self-reliant India as there is a level of regulatory uncertainty in the market. The panelists proposed guidelines which would help businesses reemerge and scale-up.

“The Constitution of India does not allow any dissemination on their right to essentials and necessities. Even during these unprecedented challenging times, the Government has to ensure all citizens have access to necessities in a safe manner,” said Justice Mukul Mudgal, Retired Chief Justice Punjab and Haryana High court

“Previous phases of the lockdown had created some ambiguity on movement of goods from one place to another as the movement of only essentials was allowed. As a result, supply chains took a hit and many people are still anxious about being able to access necessities while maintaining social distancing. It is pertinent that these concerns are addressed in the next phase” said Gopal Jain, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India.

Speaking on the topic, Sabina Dewan, President and Executive Director, JustJobs Network and Senior Visiting Fellow, Centre for Policy Research said, “If this crisis has shown us anything, it is that we live in a deeply interconnected world. Crises like climate change and pandemics span the globe.  We must be self-reliant, but we must also recognize how interconnected we are with the rest of the world and use this as an occasion to show global citizenship.”

“The announcement of the stimulus package by the Government of India is a welcome move as local and small businesses have been adversely affected by the extended period of lockdown. As PM Modi said, the need of the hour is to adapt ourselves according to the situation, therefore it is crucial that the next phase of the lockdown is handled with care and implemented in a manner that disruption to businesses is minimal,” said Rishubh Satiya, Founder, PLIX.

The panelists agreed that Lockdown 4.0 will be the result of the different approaches compared to that which was adopted while framing guidelines for the previous phases. Enforcement of the lockdown, seamless availability means easing supply chain, allowing e-commerce delivery and level playing field should be the focus of the central government who is currently processing suggestions from the states and experts and the discussion today will help frame the guidelines for Lockdown 4.0.

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