Headlines March 19, 2020
Entrepreneurs write to PM Modi on coronavirus scare
A group of venture capitalists and start-ups have appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take strong action and impose strict lock-downs and Section 144 to ban large gatherings across key cities this week to combat the novel coronavirus outbreak.
In a detailed presentation, Abhiraj Singh Bhal, Co-founder of Urban Company said that countries that had “acted early and strongly” like South Korea, Singapore and Japan, were able to control the outbreak as compared to those which waited and watched like Iran, Italy and the United States.
The presentation said, “The virus does not discriminate basis nationality – early, strong and decisive action is key to containment. Impose Section 144 and strict lockdown (citizens stay at home) across major cities for two weeks starting March 20, 2020. While containment efforts should continue, imposing a lockdown and Section 144 now, vs 30 days later, might reduce deaths by 5x (saving nearly 10,000 lives.”
The 10-slide presentation has been created and endorsed by over 50 entrepreneurs, including Kunal Bahl of Snapdeal, Phanindra Sama of Red Bus and Rohan Verzma of MapmyIndia.
The presentation said that India had “started well with good containment efforts” that included closing of public spaces like malls and cinema theatres and encouraging people to work from home for social distancing. However, it warned that a second lockdown may have to be imposed and it urged the government to ensure supply of essentials items, like food, medicine and money, and ensure availability of services like public transportation.
Concerns have been raised over the impact of the coronavirus on the Indian economy. The virus has had a massive impact on the stock markets. Global markets have also suffered massive losses over the past two weeks.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi warned of an “economic devastation” over the next six months and asked the Centre to think of a long-term plan to help businesses and the economy recover.