By Vrishti Beniwal When Bharat Gite reopened his aluminum parts factories in India’s western city of Pune, he spent days servicing idle machines, sanitizing his premises and putting in place social distancing norms for staff. His bigger problem now is convincing workers to return to their jobs after millions of Indians fled cities for their rural homes when Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed a nationwide lockdown at the end of March. Gite supplies companies like General Electric Co., ABB Ltd. and Siemens AG, and he says sales orders have dried up. The two factories run by his Parc Robotic Systems Pvt. Ltd. are operating at just a tenth of their capacity and with 30% of labor, he says. “We haven’t heard from customers in the last two months,” Gite said by phone from Pune. “It’s totally a havoc situation. We don’t know what is going to happen.” The biggest uncertainty is “how to bring the workforce back,” he said. “It will take at least a year for the business to come back on track.” As India begins gradually easing stay-at-home restrictions across the country, Gite’s experience shows how reopening the economy isn’t going to be a straightforward exercise. On top… Read full this story
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