Even as most industry bodies supported broad relaxations announced in certain zones by the government on Friday, demand for a stimulus package to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been reiterated again. Since coronavirus lockdown has led to a massive disruption in the economy, a package is needed to boost the struggling economy, India Inc said.
"The relaxation to many industrial activities including industrial establishments in urban areas such as Special Economic Zones, industrial estates and industrial townships with access control within the red zone with restrictions, is absolutely in line with what Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) had been asking for and we especially welcome it," said Chandrajit Banerjee, CII Director-General.
While all industrial activities are permitted in rural areas, limited industrial establishments will be allowed to operate in urban areas, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said in an order released Friday. Manufacturing establishments allowed in urban areas include: only special economic
zones (SEZs), export-oriented units (EOUs), industrial estates and industrial townships with access control, manufacturing units of essential goods including drugs and pharmaceuticals, medical devices, their raw material, and intermediaries; production unis, which require continuous process and staggered shifts and social distancing and manufacturing units of packaging material.
"With restricted economic activities, the imperative for a quick and forceful economic support package for industry is even more compelling now. CII has suggested instituting a Government spending package equivalent to 3 per cent of GDP which would add Rs 6 lakh crore to the available firepower. Enhanced debt to GDP ratio could be a way out to add fiscal space at a time when the debt to GDP ratio is modest in India," Chandrajit Banerjee also said.
With further economic relaxations coming up, it's time for the government to announce a financial package, especially for the MSMEs, President, FICCI, Sangita Reddy said.
Reacting to the development, ASSOCHAM said, ''The government's strategy to build on the gains in the form of containment of coronavirus is understandable and must be supported, but the 40-day lockdown has resulted in massive economic disruption. The disruption has started causing livelihood concerns for millions of workforce - both in the formal and informal sectors."
Meanwhile, e-commerce activities in the Red Zones are permitted only in respect of essential goods. and private offices can operate with up to 33 per cent strength as per requirement, with the remaining people working from home.
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