Economies all across the world took a steep plunge with Covid-19 turning out as a full blown pandemic; Punjab government has taken some proactive initiatives and progressive actions to mitigate the effects on industry and masses. The state has emerged as a trailblazer in its campaign to fight Coronavirus. A quick glimpse of all that was done by Punjab government amidCovid-19 pandemic upending normal economic activity and life all around –
- Launched the COVA App 2 weeks before Nationwide Lockdown –
Taking the power of tech in their hands, Punjab Government designed and developed a mobile application, COVA to provide relevant, urgent and authentic information to the people in real-time. This helped them stride through the unverified information being churned out at lightning speed by the popularly known Whatsapp University. What delighted the industry and business class most was the App’s feature of roviding online curfew passes and approvals to operate their business amidst lockdown. COVA App also offered online delivery of essentials including medicines, all relevant helpline numbers and details of nearby hospitals. Being proactive by nature, Punjab Government launched this App on March 10, 2020; nearly two weeks before nationwide lockdown was announced.
- Reduction in Electricity Charges –
Punjab announced a reduction in the fixed charges for electricity consumers worth INR 350cr. The deadline for payment of bills was also deferred; the due date of electricity bills of all the domestic & commercial consumers payable on or after 20th March was extended up to 20th April, without any late payment fee or surcharge. The government also instructed the PSPCL to ensure that health care institutions in the state get uninterrupted 24×7 supply.
- Partnership with private players –
Punjab government tied up with Zomato and Swiggy for delivery of essential items and groceries to homes ensuring that people remain indoors. Zomato and Swiggy were roped in for the delivery of essential items and grocery all across the state. More than one lakh orders were served till April 25 th , 2020 covering 27 cities of the state. Punjab government has partnered with Ola and developed a mobile App for issuing e-passes to nearly 17 lakh farmers of the state to support their movement in the harvest season. Invest Punjab, the unified regulatory authority of the state has played a key role in facilitating all these companies to carry out their work without disruption.
- Setting up of Transport Facilitation Control Room –
Punjab government set up a Transport Control Room for uninterrupted movement of trucks carrying essential commodities as part of the new measures to maintain their supply chain.
- Expediting the production of PPE and N95 Masks –
Punjab government’s Industries department has actively engaged with the textile and technical textile industry of Punjab to solve the severe shortage of personal protection equipment (PPE), N95 masks and 3 ply masks in the country. In last one month, more than 20 Technical Textile Units have been identified to manufacture PPE and Masks. As of April 27 th , 2020, 19 manufacturers based in Punjab have been approved for supplying PPE suits and 4 manufacturing units have been approved for supplying N95 masks.
Other than these pro-industry measures, Punjab government also set up a Punjab Chief minister’s Relief Fund – Covid 19 to which the industry extended their maximum support and contribution. More than 200 Punjab based companies contributed to the fund. The Punjab industry is also doing extra efforts to support their workers, local administration and underprivileged society in the form of essential medical supplies, distribution of food and ration kits and protective gear.
The state government has emerged a champion in this battle against Coronavirus presenting an example of how government and industry need to support each other while dealing with a crisis.