Yesterday, 11 April 2020 there was a video link meeting of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the Chief Ministers of all the states. According to the meeting Prime Minister and Chief Ministers took the decision to extend the world wide lockdown to stop the spread of the Covid-19 and to maintain social distancing. It is said to be planning to set up a chain to set up a chain of 20 Lakh retail stores called ‘Suraksha Stores’ across India which will provide daily essentials, daily used necessary items to the citizens while maintaining stringent safety norms. The initiative of suraksha stores will transform the neighbouring kirana stores into sanitised retail outlets selling daily essentials while keeping in view the safety norms such as social distancing and sanitation to control the spread of the novel corona virus. The government will rope in private firms to implement this plan. The movement of raw materials will start.
Consumer Affairs Secretary Pawan Kumar Agrawal has held atleast one round of meeting with the FMCG (FAST MOVING CONSUMER GOODS are products that are sold quickly and at a relatively low cost. Examples include non-durable household goods such as packaged food, beverages, toiletries, over the-counter drug and other consumables) giants of the nation through a public private partnership. More than 50 FMCG companies have been approached. FMCG companies will be asked to provide training and mobilise health kits (masks, gloves and sanitizers) to enable retail outlets to become ‘suraksha stores’ to customers. Educational posters related to hygine and safety should be displayed in stores. To make a ‘retail store’ a ‘suraksha store’ will have to comply with a health and safety checklist, which include social distancing of 1.5 meter outside the shop as well as the billing counters, use of sanitizer and handwash by consumers before entering shop, provision of mask to all staff and sanitisation of highly touched areas twice a day.
The government is planning suraksha stores and suraksha circles to ensure hygine and maintain sanitation. Suraksha circles are the circles made outside the stores maintaining the certain meter of gap and customers are instructed to stand in that circles whenever they come to buy the goods inorder to maintain distancing and to stop the transfer of the virus. The Consumer Affairs Ministry is working on creating ‘Suraksha Circles’ where lead manufacturing plants will help their business partners and smaller factories in their vicinity in order to ensure a safe environment across the product supply chain.
Each lead manufacturing plant is expected to adopt 10 SMEs (small and medium enterprises) and one village in order to achieve the target to bring 50000 SMEs and 5000 communities under suraksha circle.
The government’s intention is said to be to establish all the 20 lakh stores within the short span of time within the minimum of 45 days. It should be noted that Agarwal has also confirmed the government’s work in this direction. Although no details or the confirmation of the implementation of the initiative are out as of now.