Coronavirus Lockdown Makes India Weak Rather Than Stronger, Rajiv Bajaj Writes In ET
Rajiv Bajaj, managing director of Bajaj Auto Ltd. (Photographer: Gianluca Colla/Bloomberg)

Coronavirus Lockdown Makes India Weak Rather Than Stronger, Rajiv Bajaj Writes In ET

Rajiv Bajaj is of the view that India may have to sell itself out of the coronavirus crisis.

In an opinion piece published in The Economic Times’ website today, the managing director of Bajaj Auto Ltd. termed the ongoing three-week lockdown as arbitrary and needs recalibration.

“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,” Bajaj said.

“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?”

On Covid-19 Impact On Bajaj Auto

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, Bajaj said. 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.

Also Read: Surviving The Lockdown: What India’s Businesses Urgently Need

According to Bajaj, the industry has received scant support from the government amid the coronavirus pandemic. “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.”

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