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Normality Still Elusive

Not much has happened in the two-wheeler world on account of the nationwide lockdown in the wake of the pandemic outbreak. Some of the manufacturers have started limping back to production activity after being allowed 30 per cent of their workforce. Allowing the manufacturers to start activity is like allowing a part of the chain to function. The rest is still under lockdown and it does not make sense if they cannot get the components to complete the bikes. Even if they do manufacture bikes, they cannot sell them because the dealerships are still under lockdown.

Admittedly, we are not experts on economy or health, but what is happening during this lockdown is that it looks as if nobody knows the direction in which we are headed with the number of COVID-19 cases on the rise by the day. It appears that we are going to be under a permanent lockdown if this number keeps rising. As of now, no one knows when the government is likely to lift the lockdown.

The economy was already heading south before the virus hit us and now we are headed towards a recession. Rajeev Bajaj is the only industrialist who has the courage to call a spade a spade on the national television. I wish we had more industry leaders like him.

By the time the government decides to lift the lockdown, most small businesses will have to shut shop and the relief package has nothing for the auto industry or to promote sales by reducing the GST. What sense does it make to classify two-wheelers as luxury goods and slap 28 per cent GST on them? Even with the crude oil price hitting rock bottom we are paying more for petrol and diesel and the authorities say that they trying to boost the economy.

During the fourth lockdown we were supposed to see a certain easing of the restrictions, but no such luck so far. In fact, Pune is still under a full lockdown. Even after eight weeks there is still no relief for the migrant workers. It breaks my heart to see all the poor people ― men, women, and children ― walking hundreds of kilometres towards their native villages in this scorching summer heat.


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