Bajaj Auto Managing Director Rajiv Bajaj on Tuesday castigated the Narendra Modi government for enforcing an “arbitrary lockdown” to prevent the coronavirus spread, CNBC-TV18 reported. The countrywide lockdown, which was imposed on March 25 and was supposed to end on April 14, has been extended till May 3.
“This crisis started with a virus, but it is being propagated by the government,” Bajaj said. “Lockdown is not the long term answer to the health crisis. The young and healthy need to go back to work. The lockdown is arbitrary and not an answer to the economic crisis either.”
Bajaj also accused the government of deepening the country’s economic crisis and perpetuating the misery of the citizens by endangering their livelihood. “The lockdown is a solution that is looking for a problem,” the Bajaj Auto chief added. “The average age of the country is 28 and there is no social security...lockdown is not an answer to the economic and commercial crisis.”
He said the authorities must allow everybody to return to work except those above 60 years to help recover the economy.
Bajaj also pointed out the job losses due to the lockdown, adding that the production at his two-wheeler company has come to a complete halt. “You just have to speak to suppliers and dealers,” he said. “The government is pretending as if there are no job losses and no salary cuts.”
He added that the dealerships in the so-called “green zone” areas have not been able to reopen even after the Centre partially relaxed the restrictions on Monday. “Our HR has worked out a plan to save Rs 150-200 crores annually, which we will implement,” he said. “We are tightening everything. We need to secure the ship.”
The industrialist has been a vocal critic of the Bharatiya Janata Party government. He had previously attacked the 2016 demonetisation exercise.
“All I want is the government to work logically and sensibly,” he said. “I don’t need a relief package. We don’t have a demand problem...we have a governance problem.”
India has recorded 19,984 coronavirus cases and 640 deaths, according the health ministry’s data.