New Delhi: Rajiv Bajaj, Managing Director, Bajaj Auto has lashed out at the Central government for imposing a national lockdown which he says, "will only make India weak".
In an article in a national newspaper, Bajaj has strongly criticized the lockdown ordered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for three weeks to control the COVID-19 epidemic.
Baja has concluded that the lockdown is "arbitrary" which needs a "recalibration". He also said that, "We have to sell ourselves out of it".
Bajaj wrote that that so far, the industry has received scant support from the government. "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," he added.
One of the country's foremost industrialists, Bajaj compared the lockdown to other countries and said it is only making India weak.
"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", he added taking exception to the approach of a sweeping lockdown.
He is of the view that the approach cannot sustain. "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?," he asked.
Offering an alternative solution, Bajaj has argued that the young people should have been allowed to go about their work to keep the economy moving.
"We should have kept only the vulnerable at home, closed all public spaces, and allowed the young and healthy to keep turning wheels of the economy -- with due precautions, with respect to hygiene, masks, distancing, etc", Bajaj wrote.
Advocating the use of homeopathy and ayurveda, Bajaj has said that these cheap and scalable solutions should not have been barred as India is a centre of excellence in these streams.
"I'm dismayed that despite having a full-fledged Ayush ministry and being the world's centre of excellence in homoeopathy, India has barred homoeopaths and naturopaths from offering affordable, scalable solutions, especially given that homoeopathy is universally acknowledged to have no inimical side effects," he said.
Bajaj Auto has assured dealers, suppliers and employees, including all contract employees, that it will not permit this extreme lockdown to impact them till April 14.
"However, I'm afraid we cannot guarantee that this will continue to be the case thereafter as well," Bajaj wrote.