Appliance makers are all set to resume manufacturing operations from April 20 onwards with the government partially easing the lockdown for production units across India.
In its list of guidelines, the Ministry of Home Affairs said manufacturing and industrial establishments in special economic zones, export oriented units, industrial townships and industrial estates will be allowed to operate from April 20 if they fall under non-containment zones.
The government has taken steps to ease conditions for the manufacturing sector to resume operations. The steps include allowing industries outside limits of municipalities and municipal corporations to start operations, freeing up transportation of goods and setting guidelines for the movement and stay of labour.
The guidelines were released by Ministry of Home Affairs on April 15. However, the countrywide lockdown to contain the spread of novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, has been extended to May 3.
With this, manufacturing can be resumed in industrial zones. Summer season accounts for the bulk of sales for products like air coolers, air conditioners and refrigerators. Moneycontrol had earlier reported that consumer durables firms were facing challenges due to the near shutdown in production.
Halt in production has also led to severe losses for appliance makers across the country. However, clarity in awaited on import of crucial parts like air compressors and open-cell for LED panels from markets like China.
Manish Sharma, President and CEO, Panasonic India, said the guidelines issued on April 15 are supportive and in favour of ensuring business continuity to some extent.
“As our factory in Jhajhar, Haryana is in the green zone, we are hoping to receive permission to start manufacturing soon. Summers are here and while we have enough inventory of ACs and refrigerators to meet consumer demands, we would like to start operations to ensure sustainability over the longer term. We are prepared for staggered operations with workers coming in batches while ensuring social distancing, frequent sanitising, usage of masks among other initiatives to protect our workforce,” he added.
White goods firms, in particular, had requested some flexibility during the lockdown to ensure that manufacturing units are allowed to function. More than 90 percent of the manufacturing units are located in industrial clusters in the outskirts of major Indian cities.
As per the standard operating protocol of MHA, manufacturing units have been asked to make arrangements for stay of workers within the premises of the unit or in adjacent buildings. Transportation of workers also needs to be arranged by their respective companies.
Avneet Singh Marwah CEO of Super Plastronics (exclusive brand licensee of Thomson TVs in India) said, “It is a welcome move for the industry, Thomson TV will follow all operating procedures recommended by the government. We are installing human sanitisation machines, all the labour will stay inside the unit. e-commerce operations were really important for non-essential goods as India is a huge replacement market.”
MHA has allowed e-commerce companies to also operate during the lockdown period. For appliance makers, e-commerce platforms are an important source of distribution. Money Control