After over 40 days of nationwide complete lockdown, a decision came which indicates a roadmap for restart. A much needed restart for the manufacturing sector as well as for the nation's economy is widely welcomed. The India Cellular And Electronics Association (ICEA) welcomed the government's decision to let the IT manufacturing units including mobile phones resume operations from May 4.
In a statement, the ICEA said the new MHA notification has clearly defined the hotspots, red, orange and green zones and explicitly clarified the permitted economic activities in Red Zones. However, this manufacturing restart must have well-executed social-distancing guidelines.
"We thank the MHA for accepting the industry's recommendations to restart manufacturing of IT Hardware products which include mobile phones and mobile devices as well as to ensure the seamless movement of all the essential and non-essential goods across the country," said Pankaj Mohindroo, Chairman, ICEA.
After the onset of Covid-19, all major economic and manufacturing activities pertaining to the mobile handset sector had been shut whether relating to manufacturing, exports and retail and distribution operations.
Mohindroo, however, expressed concerns about non-fulfilment of the emergent consumer demand for mobile phones and mobile devices due to limited operations of the retail and e-commerce operations in red zones as per the current notification.
"Also, the states need to follow and implement the MHA guidelines in the same spirit which can truly inculcate the broader objectives of the government of India on restarting of economic activity that includes manufacturing and allied activities", added Mohindroo.
All smartphone brands -- from Samsung to Xiaomi to Realme -- suspended manufacturing/assembling at their respective plants in the country almost from March 20 onwards.
The ICEA estimated that nearly 2.5 crore Indian users of smartphones, feature phones and mobile devices such as tablets and laptops are now facing the crisis of having to work without a faulty device.
Arjun Bajaj, Director of Videotex Group said that the relaxations basis the identified zones is a welcome move.
"With e-commerce companies able to operate for non-essential goods, consumer durables Industry shall have some movement. Along with this, it will also help the online firms to start clearing the existing inventory," Bajaj said in a statement.
Citing "significant gains" of the ongoing restriction across the country, the Union Home Ministry on Friday extended the countrywide lockdown for a further period of two weeks with effect from May 4 to contain the Covid-19 outbreak.
The MHA also issued new guidelines to regulate different activities in this period, based on the risk profiling of the districts of the country into red (hotspot), orange, and green zones.