Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has recommended lifting of the coronavirus lockdown as early as possible. It said that the restrictions, however, must be lifted in a safe and calibrated manner. "CII also believes that India should brace itself for what may be a long haul to overcome the public health crisis and the economic crisis precipitated by the corona pandemic," stated the organisation.
It said that the government should not use all its firepower at once as the crisis is not likely to get over soon. CII said that safeguarding macro-fundamentals is important to ensure that the country does not face significant rating downgrades. It also recommended a fiscal support package limited to 2 per cent of the GDP, in addition to the Rs 1.7 lakh crore provided under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana.
The CII recommended a few measures to the government:
1. CII recommended a package of Rs 2 lakh crore to JAM (Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile) holders in addition to the Rs 1.7 lakh crore under PM-GKY.
2. It requested RBI to extend wage and interest support, working capital support, additional reconstruction term loans to MSMEs and additional reconstruction loans to stressed sectors. "Banks should provide additional working capital limits, equivalent to April - June wage bill of the borrowers, backed by a Government guarantee, at 4-5 per cent, with a refinance guarantee from RBI," stated CII. It added that banks should extend term loans with the government offering guarantee of 20 per cent of the default.
3. CII stated that the government must preempt bank failures in the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis. "The economy cannot afford a bank collapse, and pre-emptive action is necessary. CII proposes that the Government of India sets apart a fund of Rs 30,000 crore that could be used by banks that meet certain criteria and under specified conditions, to access this fund by way of issuing Tier I bonds, which will be convertible into equity at the option of the fund," stated CII.
4. Use a dashboard approach for the post-lockdown restart. The restart calendar for cities and states and the proportion of manpower allowed to get back to work should be based on these dashboards.
5. Facilities that re-open should ensure social distancing, screening and sanitisation. Those who violate must be penalised.
6. Availability of adequate masks, testing and protective gear must be ensured by the government.
7. Seamless movement of goods and services must be facilitated by the government. Authorities must not harass and drivers and workers in the sector must be given e-passes. Special transport from areas with large numbers of workers must be ensured. Highway dhabas must be allowed to function.
8. Government must undertake an aggressive messaging campaign on preparedness to ensure that migrant workers are back. Facilitate their return through e-passes and by arranging special transport. An insurance scheme for migrant workers, for three months must be rolled out. Part of the cost could be borne by the government and part by industry.
9. The government must set up a group of ministers at the Centre to plan, review and address implementation challenges. Interdepartmental task-forces, led by the respective Chief Secretaries should also be formed at the state level.
INDIA CORONAVIRUS TRACKER: BusinessToday.In brings you a daily tracker as coronavirus cases continue to spread. Here is the state-wise data on total cases, fatalities and recoveries in one comprehensive graphic.
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