The government has announced that the management of industries will be held accountable and penalised in case of workers being found Covid-19 positive, in order to support the decision to start the essential industries, it is essential to review the penal provisions.
On one hand, it appears that the government has considered that they have the responsibility, to ensure well being of the public and save people from the pandemic. That their lives and livelihoods have to be balanced for which the essential industries have to start functioning. While doing so, the workers have to be protected, they cannot be left loose to get infected, since each one getting infected might spread to the others.
So, lock-in was envisaged, where industries keep their workforce within their campus, ensure hygiene, sanitisation, and distance, feed and house them and take work.
- All industries do not have quarters or toilet facilities
- In such times there is a need to create modified, arrangements
- Which are workable, may not be lavish or perfect
Having said that, one is hopeful some industries will make some arrangements, some may not be able to do so owing to space constraints, they need to look for facilities nearby which have become available due to lockdown and hire them.
This having been done, where they are genuinely unable to do so they approach the local administration and public representatives, who should help.
All that being done on one hand to contribute to the national effort against Covid-19 is justifiable, but on the other hand, putting the liability of infection among workers on management and making it penal act will demoralise and demotivate the management defeating the very purpose of starting the essential Industries in the national interest.
Governments have to act as facilitators, in order to fight every problem together especially during the pandemic.
We are hopeful that the governments will reconsider this action and relax the provisions and incorporate an inclusive strategy involving all stakeholders including the local administration and public interest.
Industries are willing to institute steps for the safety and security of their workforce and start production to minimize losses to the National Economy, they would be able to do this better in case the support of the Government is available.
Disclaimer: This is a guest post by Major General Dilawar Singh (Retd.), Senior Vice President of the Global Economist Forum ECOSOC, UN. He is the former Director-General NYKS at Ministry of Youth Services and sports. He was also Additional Director General of Rashtriya Rifles, has served six tenures in counter-terrorist areas, commanded two Counter-Terrorist Balallions and is the only officer to have received three citations therein. He holds unbroken records for academic and operational excellence as well as long-term planning for the Indian Army.