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Last updated: 31 May, 2020  

Locked generic THMB Unlock 1: India Inc hails ease in restrictions

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SME Times News Bureau | 31 May, 2020

India Inc on Saturday welcomed the Centre's norms -- Unlock 1 -- meant to ease restrictions on businesses and other daily aspect of life.

Accordingly, the fifth phase of the nationwide lockdown was announced which would last in the containment zones from June 8-30.

The guidelines said that only a limited number of activities will remain prohibited throughout the country, including international air travel till June-end.

However, baring essential services, no activity will be allowed in the containment zones.

Industry body Assocham's Secretary General Deepak Sood said the phased re-opening of activities from June 1, termed as 'Unlock 1' with an economic focus, has come in as a great relief for the industry and trade, including millions of MSMEs which should steadily return to normalcy while maintaining vigil against the spread of Covid-19.

"After a stringent lockdown of over two months, the economic dimension of the pandemic had to be considered ensuring both life and livelihood," Sood said.

"The Central Government has taken a right call, freeing a large part of the economy outside the containment zones. With these measures, the Indian economy should bounce back steadily but surely," he added.

However, he pointed out that states need to work in a well-coordinated manner to ensure that the movement of goods and persons, restrictions on which have now been lifted, must be adhered to.

"We need to realise, for sure, that the country is still grappling with the Covid-19 crisis, reaching a critical stage. The coming weeks would remain critical and the new normal must be respected for the desired results," Sood said.

Exporters' body EEPC India's Chairman Ravi Sehgal said: "Substantial lifting of lockdown is a sentiment booster for exporters, after months of difficulties and challenges. Even as we count our losses, easing of restrictions on economic activities would save millions of jobs, though an arduous task of re-building the business lies ahead."

On its part, Geojit Financial Services' Chief Investment Strategist V.K. Vijayakumar said: "Phased reopening of the economy, in line with global trends, will go a long way in boosting business confidence apart from opening opportunities for jobs and incomes. It is important to understan d that the unprecedented high global unemployment is the product of the great lockdown and not due to any economic crisis.

"Therefore, we can expect jobs and incomes to bounce back sharply. However, managing the spread of the disease arising out of opening would be a challenge."

According to Ankur Bhatia, Executive Director, Bird Group: "We are already pushed to the walls. A little more extension of lockdown would have done irreversible economic damage. We welcome government's move to allow us to operate."

In a statement, Zubin Saxena, Managing Director and Vice President, Operations, South Asia, Radisson Hotel Group, said: "We are looking forward to resuming operations within government guidelines.

"Apart from hygiene, our go forward business model is concentrated o n leveraging the synergies of our network which we believe will work in a sustainable manner to ensure business uplift overtime. We remain dedicated to exceeding guest expectations in the new era of hospitality that awaits us."

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