How reliable are India and Pakistan’s supply chains in the current environment?

A disturbing article in the usually sober British newspaper The Telegraph makes for difficult reading for consumers with supply chains dependent on the Pakistan or Indian subcontinent. It suggests, for different reasons, both countries are significantly underreporting the level of coronavirus deaths.
In the process, both countries could be a ticking time bomb for a return to more extreme lockdown measures this year just as both economies are supposedly coming out of hibernation.

In India, the article reports, there is a deliberate policy in some states to avoid putting any mention of COVID-19 on death certificates, thus dramatically reducing the numbers of deaths from that cause hitting the national statistics.
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The paper cites the state of West Bengal as one where any reference to COVID-19, even for patients confirmed after tests, to appear on a death certificate is only permitted after approval of a secretive committee said to be made up of government-appointed doctors. The paper quotes sources saying Kolkata medical colleges and hospitals were unofficially instructed by the state government to perform low testing to reduce the recorded number of reported COVID-19 cases. Doctors are quoted as saying they would lose their jobs if they challenged the instruction or complained in public.
Residents near the city of Barrackpore, 30 miles north of Kolkata, have accused officials of using the local crematorium in the middle of the night to secretly dispose of bodies.
In Pakistan the problem is reported as being significantly different. Instead of the authorities hiding COVID-19 related deaths from the statistics, it is the population at large that is inadvertently causing an underreporting. Apparently, in Pakistan if a patient dies in hospital their funeral is strictly controlled, allowing only a handful of family mourners — so people are simply avoiding taking family members to the hospital. Deaths not occurring in hospitals go unreported, significantly distorting the true extent of the disease’s spread, even from the authorities.
It has been a source of puzzlement to the international community that India and Pakistan had appeared to have got off relatively lightly compared to China, Europe and North America. Poor health care, densely populated cities, communal living and existing lung disease were expected to make the countries particularly susceptible.
Instead, official death tolls have been surprisingly low.
By May 22, India had reported only 3,435 deaths and Pakistan only 1,017, compared with nearly 100,000 in America.
Even within cities, data differs wildly.
The article reports death tolls in the capital Delhi from different authorities have been dramatically different. The municipal corporations of North and South Delhi this week have told the Delhi government they have recorded 426 coronavirus-positive cremations or burials. Yet, the Delhi government’s official health bulletin put the city’s COVID-19 death toll at just 194.
Many businesses are now coming out of forced lockdown; migrant workers and laborers will be drifting back from their villages to work in the cities. Hotspots are a significant feature, but insufficient testing makes the identification of outbreaks unreliable unless a really large surge forces a reappraisal.
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Under such circumstances, the potential for a manufacturing site, city, or even whole region to see a spike and be closed down again is a significant risk and one consumers with supply chains relying on product from the subcontinent would do well to keep under close review.

One Comment

  • COVID is an opportunity to re-orient the manufacturing strategy,of Pakistan
    1st some basic facts.
    1stly,there is no material requirement of Pakistan,whose complete import can swing international prices,or create temporary shortages or warrant preniums.Thus,besides the Agri,defense and Nuke industry,no other industry is strategic.Until there is cross border wheeling of power,from the North Pole to the South Pole,power will have to be produced in Pakistan – although that can also imported, at a far cheaper rate from Iran.
    2ndly,when a nation makes some product,which can be imported at a far cheaper rate,it is essentially FORCING the users of that product,to pay a higher price,in the Billions of USD,so that other citizens of the importing nation,can be employed in those factories,and their supply chains.This is a conscious decision to keep humans occupied,and living from cheque to cheque,TDS to TDS,home loan to car loan etc.Else,people will revolt or be captivated and captured,by demagogues.Of Course the consumers, paying the higher price,have to clue about this sacrifice – as they are also,slaves to some car loan ponzi.
    3rdly,Economies of Technological scale (based on latest technology that maximises yield and throughput and reduces wastages,losses, power and material requirement) will always exceed, by a huge margin,the economies of labour scale (which relies on technology,which leverages large numbers of low to medium paid labour).Exception is the Pakistan sports industry,which is labour driven and exports soccer balls etc.But that is because,no one is APPLYING HIS MIND, to Robotics in that area, and handcrafted products,are commanding a premium price,TODAY.Ultimately ROBOTS will take over,as there is no competition to 24 hours service (and no ESI and PF and Medical and other staff costs)
    4thly,No matter what Pakistan does,no agri output produced by Pakistan,will have a COST OF PRODUCTION AT MANDI,which is even LESS THAN 150% of the CIF price of the imported product at KPT.In the future,USA and PRC (ignoring Africa),will be able to produce the ENTIRE FOOD OUTPUT,OF THE HUMANS AND ANIMALS AND SEA LIFE,at a cost, less than half of current costs, and in a time span of less than half,of what is takes today. However, the farmers have to be OCCUPIED and kept HAPPY,as else,they can overthrow any state, and easily get radicalised. The FACT is that,7 Billion humans COULD get food,at less than a fifth of the current prices (NOT COSTS),and double the quantity,that they eat today.They are suffering, to ensure that the farmers of North America, South America,LATAM, Russia, Australia are kept HAPPY,and that the farmers of INDIA do not hang from the trees and create a revolution. On principles of evolutionary perfection ,farming is viable ONLY in nations with large land tracts and LOW DENSITY OF POPULATION.India is NOT in that GRID.PRC is in that grid,as it can CREATE LOW DENSITY OF POPULATION,AND ALSO,CREATE LARGE LAND TRACTS – as it is ruled by the CCP.dindooohindoo
    Fiftly,Unlike the Technology Exports services,all service sectors,hinge upon manufacturing. Manufacturing drives all else.Even a Technology Export sector,has to have a domestic anchor – which is contingent upon Manufacturing.A manufacturing plant brings to life,a society and its eco-system,and over few decades leads to large wealth creation,which primarily begins from land and real estate prices and ends with bank credit.So unlike the Isle of Man – there are no Manx companies in Pakistan – and so,manufacturing is critical.
    So the Manufacturing Strategy,has to be created within the above pentagonia,based on the competitive and comparative advantages of the raw material supply chain NSIDE Pakistan – as also,the ECONOMIC costs of the raw materials,which are NOT AVAILABLE,INSIDE PAKISTAN.


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