By OUR STAFF REPORTER
DEHRADUN, 10 Apr: Industry body Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on Friday wrote to Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat seeking support for industries during this hard time. The ‘CII Uttarakhand COVID Action Task Force’ has been constantly in touch with industries regarding issues being faced by them and interacting with the State Government for resolution. The task force is also apprising government on the measures being taken by other states.
In Uttarakhand, the Tourism and Hospitality sector has been hit badly and the body has suggested a set of recommendations for supporting the sector at least for a year. The suggestions include – Deferment for twelve months of Statutory Compliances, GST & Advance Tax payments at the Central Government level and removal of fees for any upcoming licences/permits renewal/excise exemption for liquor for the hospitality and travel industry.
A six to nine months’ moratorium on all working capital principal, interest payments on loans and overdrafts bringing in liquidity allowing for business continuity, without categorising the companies as NPAs has been sought.
As per the RBI, industry-wise deployment of Gross Bank Credit is Rs 45,000 crore as of January 2020. When compared to other major industries, this is a very small number, even smaller than the debt exposure of single companies in some cases. Helping with a moratorium, interest rate reduction and/or longer repayment schedules for these obligations can aid in assisting/salvaging the entire industry.
Short term interest has been sought free or low interest loans for rebuilding business and immediate transmission to all industry segments viz., hotels, travel agents (online and offline), tour operators and any other ancillary entity that is supporting the industry on term loans and working capital loans. Besides, existing overdraft limits can be doubled for the industry and immediate cash relief given to avoid mass lay-offs of employees.
GST holiday for the next 12 months and TCS Exemption under GST has also been sought, as also roll back of TCS on sale of Overseas Tour Packages. Another suggestion is financial support like MGNREGA should be extended to the entire travel industry in order to prevent employment loss. Minimum support on this account from the government would go a long way for businesses to avoid layoffs.
The CII has also sought release of pending payments and incentives/subsidies to Industries with government, exemption of fixed charges on power during lockdown, reduction in power tariffs, waiver of peak electricity charges post lockdown, ESIC to pay wages to workers during lockdown, payment dates of bills to be extended by 6 months, auto renewal of all statutory compliances and exemption of renewal charges for a year.
Ashok Windlass, Chairman, CII Uttarakhand State Council, said that the CII Uttarakhand COVID Action Task Force has carefully drafted a set of recommendations keeping in mind key issues being faced by industry during this time of pandemic and these have been shared with the Chief Minister for consideration. CII and Industry hope that a relief package would be announced considering the recommendations sent by CII.
The CII at National level and in States is helping the authorities through industry inputs and by leveraging best practices from major industries that are doing commendable work in the lockdown situation. CII has requested a special relief package for Industries in Uttarakhand that government should come up with.