July 25, 2020 8:08:03 pm
More than four months since the nationwide lockdown was first enforced in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, Pune’s industries are yet to function at full throttle as demand uncertainty looms large over the sector. Some of the units that have seen orders piling up have complained of labour shortage, which has put brakes on their activities.
Industrial activities were allowed to resume after the strict lockdown of first two months. The manufacturing sector was allowed to resume work with 100 per cent workforce even as IT and other sectors were asked to work with lesser workforce. Even during the recent 10-day lockdown, the industrial sector was allowed to function without any break.
But the macro economic weakness continues to haunt the sector as demand dip remains one of the major worries. Maharatta Chamber of Commerce Industries and Agriculture (MCCIA) in its recent survey of over 140 enterprises found that demand continues to remain low. The survey, released on Friday, also showed that on an average, enterprises have achieved 40 per cent of their production levels as compared to July 2019. Medium and large scale enterprises have reported 57and 53 per cent production levels, respectively, while micro and small units have reported 30 and 43 per cent production levels.
The survey also highlighted that on an average, units have reported 47 per cent labour force reporting to work. The medium scale units with 65 per cent have clocked the highest number of employees reporting to work while the micro units have reported the lowest figures at 39 per cent.
Long duration of lockdown, experts feel, have prevented demand from picking up all over. “We have to account for the pandemic but large-scale lockdown is not the answer. We need to ensure strict micro lockdown, but allow the economy to revive,” said a senior industrial leader. Instead of general lockdown, many feel the approach should be on extensive testing in containment areas and allow economic activities to pick up.
Prashant Girbane, director general of MCCIA, said the uncertainty over demand is the biggest worry for the sector at the moment. “As unlocking progresses, productivity will pick up and deployment of labour force will increase,” he said.
Sandeep Belsare, president of Pimpri-Chinchwad Small and Medium Scale Industries Association, said they have seen orders trickling in. “We hope by Diwali, things will come back to normal,” he said.
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