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    India may have to sell itself out of this crisis, says Rajiv Bajaj

    Synopsis

    "We should have kept only the vulnerable at home, closed all public spaces, and allowed the young and healthy to keep turning wheels of the economy — with due precautions, with respect to hygiene, masks, distancing, etc."

    Rajiv Bajaj, MD Bajaj Auto
    Coronavirus

    COVID-19 CASES

    Confirmed
    11,139,516
    Deaths
    157,346
    To the best of my knowledge, virtually no country has imposed such a sweeping lockdown as India has; I continue to believe this makes India weak rather than stronger in combating the epidemic.

    We should have kept only the vulnerable at home, closed all public spaces, and allowed the young and healthy to keep turning wheels of the economy — with due precautions, with respect to hygiene, masks, distancing, etc.

    I don’t buy the condescending argument that all Indians are a bunch of illiterate, ignorant, indisciplined morons who need cattle-like shepherding.

    The current approach is obviously totally unsustainable in the future; every now and then when a virus returns, are we to fear that the lockdown will also be back?

    I’m dismayed that despite having a full-fledged Ayush ministr,y and being the world’s centre of excellence in homoeopathy, India has barred homoeopaths and naturopaths from offering affordable, scalable solutions, especially given that homoeopathy is universally acknowledged to have no inimical side effects.

    Being a profitable, debt-free company that exports almost half of what it makes, is, fortunately, in a relatively resilient position for now. Consequently, we have assured dealers, suppliers and employees, including all contract employees, that we will not permit this extreme lockdown to impact them till April 14.

    However, I’m afraid we cannot guarantee that this will continue to be the case thereafter as well.

    Until we see signs of normalisation, we are reviewing our capex budget to be put on hold, marketing budget to be reduced to virtually zero, interest waiver on dealer credit to be tempered, and wages to be cut across the organisation. We are at the moment not effecting job cuts and intend to honour all supplier payments due.

    So far, the industry has received scant support from the government. However, I'm less concerned about that as to my mind, the priority is recalibration of this arbitrary lockdown. For, I firmly believe that we’re not going to save ourselves out of this crisis, we have to sell ourselves out of it.

    The writer is MD Bajaj Auto, views expressed are his own.
    (Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this column are that of the writer. The facts and opinions expressed here do not reflect the views of www.economictimes.com.)
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    65 Comments on this Story

    Sharad Shah307 days ago
    I agree with a lot of what Rajiv Bajaj says except his support for Ayurdic remedy for Corona virus. The homeopathy medicine that he recommends should not be rejected out of hand also not over promoted till fully tested. Pharmacologist world over are in search of a cure and it will be counter productive if such medicines are promoted on the basis of some anecdotic evidence.
    Robie Shoby325 days ago
    Internationally connected with all the countries in the world,we've had enough of early warnings on the ferocity of the spread of this virus & the mortality rates.Had we shut down all our international airports/seaports for passengers,we would have never been in such dire straits.
    JAGDISH RUPAREL325 days ago
    Do You remember Bombay Club pleading protection during initial period of open Economic policy by contemporary PM Narsinh Raoji and FM Dr. Manmohansinghji. Their Group was leading the Club that time also pleading fear of failure of multiple local industry due to sudden competition from abroad without protection from Govt. as in post Independence era till then as per so called Samajwadi model. Later on Bombay club fissled out, as it was propagating no competition or guarded competition rejected by world, recent contemperary event being failure of Soviet Model.
    Please be practical, everybody becomes big by people's patronage and has reverse obligations during people's bad time. Everyone irrespective of status is part of humanity and has obligations towards fellow Human beings.
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