Rajiv Bajaj, the Managing Director of Bajaj Auto, has expressed his contrarian views about the complete 21-day coronavirus lockdown imposed by the Narendra Modi government.
“To the best of my knowledge, virtually no country has imposed such a sweeping lockdown as India has; I continue to believe this makes India weak rather than stronger in combating the epidemic,” Rajiv Bajaj said in an opinion published in The Economic Times.
He also added, “I don’t buy the condescending argument that all Indians are a bunch of illiterate, ignorant, indisciplined morons who need cattle-like shepherding. The current approach is obviously totally unsustainable in the future; every now and then when a virus returns, are we to fear that the lockdown will also be back?”
The spread of novel coronavirus has left several businesses around the country counting costs. Significant shifts in stock markets, where the shares of companies are sold and bought have also affected many.
Talking about the impact of coronavirus on Bajaj Auto, Rajiv Bajaj said that being a profitable, debt-free company that exports almost half of what it makes, Bajaj Auto is, fortunately, in a relatively resilient position for now.
The automaker has assured dealers, suppliers and employees that it will not permit this “extreme lockdown” to impact them till April 14, he said in the article.
“However, I’m afraid we can’t guarantee that this will continue to be the case thereafter as well,” he said, adding that while Bajaj Auto is looking at ways to curb costs, it intends to honour all supplier payments and is not effecting job cuts, at the moment.
According to the Managing Director, the business has received limited support from the government during the outbreak of coronavirus.
“However, I’m less concerned about that as to my mind, the priority is recalibration of this arbitrary lockdown. For, I firmly believe that we’re not going to save ourselves out of this crisis, we have to sell ourselves out of it.”
Meanwhile, the central government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi hints at possible extension for the lockdown as the tally for the coronavirus positive cases in India nears the 6,600 marks.