In the pre-COVID time, there was a great buzz around automation, globalisation and we even learnt about the concept of ghost factory, i.e completely automated factory. Now when the migrant labour have left for their hometown, such advanced technologies are not mentioned even once. Contrary to the technologies, most businesses are run with man and money, currently, the system lacks both. Manufacturing, warehousing, logistics and all other labour-intensive industry are struggling to kickstart and run at the optimum level. This reinstates our importance of real raw manpower which is the core of operations; drivers in the transportation sector leave no stone unturned to leave their trucks and leave for hometown which has resulted in empty roads, congestion of goods, over-capacity of storage facilities and disruption in the supply chain. As the Health Ministry has issued a statement stating that we will have to live with the virus; which signals eventual plan to reopen the economy in a full-fledged state, then we suggest they take the following steps for reinstating the labour of our country :
- Remove the sentiment of fear and bring awareness of the reality that Covid-19 is a curable disease, with a death rate of below 3% and with necessary precaution, the curve can be flattened and hence cases be reduced
- There lie multifold job opportunities for the local youth in rural areas of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and other states which can earn and contribute to the workforce
- Necessary coordination among states to ensure reverse migration of labourers who may be willing to resume work in industrial states in the near future
- Online government-backed portal for Pan India application of labour based jobs should be initiated
If such action or any effort to ensure the workforce is not initiated at the earliest, then core industries such as manufacturing, construction, logistics, warehousing would not be able to operate at more than 40% of their capacity and due to their fixed costs would have a financial impact on banks, giving rise to further NPA situation. Hence the government should steadfastly initiate efforts to resolve the situation to ensure a healthy economy and maintain a balance between the safety of lives and economical health of our nation.