oppn parties Maharashtra 'Mini-Lockdown': Mumbai Traders Issue Ultimatum

News Snippets

  • EMI's set to rise after the RBI hikes key policy rate
  • Calcutta HC says that the right to privacy does not end with the death of a person
  • Supreme Court says that a delayed order of preventive detention makes it invalid
  • Shashi Tharoor posts an erronous map of India in his manifesto, rectifies the error after criticism
  • Sonia Gandhi to take a call on who will be Rajasthan chief minister
  • Mallikarujun Kharge to be the new candidate to oppose Shashi Tharoor in the Congress presidential elections
  • RBI says that the September inflation rate may be higher than 7%
  • RBI hikes key rates by 50bps, downwardly revises FY23 growth rate to 7% from 7.2% earlier
  • Stocks recover well on Friday: Sensex gains 1016 points to0 57426 and Nifty 276 points to 17094
  • Mirabai Chanu wins gold easily at the National Games
  • In a first, the Supreme Court recognizes marital rape, although for the limited purpose of allowing married women the right of abortion up to 24 weeks if they conceived as a result of forced sex by their husbands
  • Air India cuts discounts on base fare to students and senior citizens from 50% to 25%
  • Mallikarjun Kharge and Digvijay Singh are being touted as frontrunners to take on Shashi Tharoor in the elections for the post of Congress president
  • Sonia Gandhi will decide who will be Rajasthan CM if she feels there is a need to change guard after the near-rebellion by MLAs in the state
  • Ashok Gehlot bowed out of the race for being Congress president after meeting Sonia Gandhi
RBI hikes key rates by 50bps, stocks jump and recover 50% of the losses incurred in the last few session
oppn parties
Maharashtra 'Mini-Lockdown': Mumbai Traders Issue Ultimatum

By Linus Garg
First publised on 2021-04-07 09:46:14

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Linus tackles things head-on. He takes sides in his analysis and it fits excellently with our editorial policy. No 'maybe's' and 'allegedly' for him, only things in black and white.

In a questionable move, the Maharashtra Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (MCCIA) issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the state government to withdraw its order to keep shops selling non-essential items closed in the city till April 30. The government had issued the order to prevent crowding in marketplaces in order to break the Covid chain as the second wave has gone out of control in the state. Most markets in Mumbai see huge crowds throughout the day despite the surge in Covid cases and health protocol is not followed in most of these markets.

But the traders, mainly sellers of computers and peripherals, argue that since the spread of Covid will make work from home the preferred mode of working once again, there will be huge demand for such items and if they are forced to keep their shops shut now, they will suffer huge losses. The traders argue that since ecommerce operations will not be stopped, all their business will go to such platforms.

But the traders must share a part of the blame. After unlock started happening, all market committees (and chambers like MCCIA) became lax and thought that the virus had vanished. They allowed unrestricted entry of people in their markets and shops and did not follow any Covid protocol. They allowed customers without masks, their employees also seldom wore masks and there was provision for sanitizing hands or maintaining physical distance. The administration must also own up as it allowed these markets to function without restrictions. But since the virus has now returned with a vengeance, especially in Mumbai and Maharashtra, the government needs to take all measures it deems fit to stop the rapid spread.

But these localized or specific lockdowns are temporary measures just to break the chain (though one is skeptical about its success). The main thing is to force these markets to follow the health protocols strictly hereafter. The administration needs to monitor these markets, either by patrolling or by CCTV. Any transgression must result in warnings first, then fines and ultimately closure for a specific period. These markets must ensure that employees and customers wear masks at all times, they must provide hand sanitizers and allow entry of as many customers in the shops at a time as can be accommodated while maintaining physical distance.

When pandemics strike, profit cannot be the only motive. Yes the wheels of the economy must be kept running to keep the home fires burning but not at the cost of the health or well-being of the people. The traders must treat this 'mini-lockdown' as a strict warning and brace themselves to do business in the new normal as per the stated rules or prepare themselves for more such closures. The people, and that includes the trading community, have to support the government in its efforts to curb the spread of the virus.