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Coronavirus lockdown: Exporters ask govt to allow 50% workforce to operate

The Federation of Indian Export Organisations said all manufacturing companies involved in the export business should be allowed to operate with 50 per cent of the workforce with full sanitation and social distancing norms.

twitter-logoBusinessToday.In | April 3, 2020 | Updated 13:35 IST
Coronavirus lockdown: Exporters ask govt to allow 50% workforce to operate
In several ports, entry of exports was not allowed and the goods that had entered the ports were charged 24x7

The exporters' association of India has demanded a host of steps including allowing them to operate their factories with minimum staff, subsidy on interest rates, and extension of incentive schemes, to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

The Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) said all manufacturing companies involved in the export business should be allowed to operate with 50 per cent of the workforce with full sanitation and social distancing norms. The apex body of exports added that as per current situation there will be a huge market loss which will be extremely difficult to recover. FIEO said if exports resume then it will help in paying wages to the worker and prevent migration of labours.

Also read: Coronavirus in India Live Updates: Country's active COVID-19 cases rise to 2,088 ; death tally at 56

FIEO Director General Ajay Sahai said, "Our loss will be China's gain which is using all means to gain greater market access with increased incentives". Sahai asked the government to include-complete supply chain, labour requirements for loading, port facilities, as essential services.

FIEO added that customs at major ports were not functioning normally despite orders from the government. In several ports, entry of exports was not allowed and the goods that had entered the ports were charged 24x7.

The apex trade promotion organisation told commerce minister Piyush Goyal that all agencies involved in exports and imports including customs, freight forwarders, transporters, shipping lines, courier companies, plant quarantine, certificate of origin issuing agencies should function with minimal staff since if one of them is not functioning, the export-import chain will break.

Additionally, it has asked for an extension in pre- and post-shipment credit by a minimum of 180-270 days. Also, waiver of PF/ESI (Provident Fund/ Employees' state insurance) charges for all industries from March to June 2020.

Export Promotion Council for SEZs and EOUs Vice-Chairman Bhuvnesh Seth pitched for extension of income tax benefits and other incentives till March next year. He has also recommended the continuation of Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) export incentive scheme and zero rent at least for MSME for lockdown period.

(With PTI inputs)

Also read: World Bank's $1 billion emergency fund: How will India spend it to fight coronavirus?

Also read: Coronavirus Lockdown III: Is India's public healthcare system prepared to fight the COVID-19 menace?

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