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Coronavirus impact: CII sets up relief pool funds to help MSMEs, society

BusinessToday.In     March 23, 2020

Apex industry body Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) on Monday said it has set up CII COVID-19 CODE and CII COVID - 19 rehabilitation and relief pool fund to help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) and society from the impact of disruptions caused by coronavirus.

CII has developed and advocated a COVID-19 CODE to its members to help its workers and society at large from the impact of disruptions caused by COVID-19, said Vikram Kirloskar, President, CII.

CII announced its initiatives at the interactive meeting with Prime Minister Modi earlier today,  Kirloskar said.

"Our initiatives to help the economically deprived people particularly our commitment to not retrench any worker including blue collar and contract workers resonated well with PM Modi who appreciated industry's efforts," he said.

CII members will dedicate their plant facilities to help scale up manufacture and availability of essential goods and equipment needed to deal with the medical emergency like ventilators, sanitisers, essential drugs, medical services, etc., on a no-profit basis, and build a cadre of volunteers for public service the CII CODE advocates.

Uday Kotak, the President-Designate of CII, said the COVID Rehabilitation Fund is important for the micro and small industry, who will need special hand holding and help to rehabilitate their business. "The CII COVID Rehabilitation and Relief Fund (CRR) will be an industry led initiative to work with the MSME sector," Kotak said.

Elaborating on some of the major interventions required from RBI, Kotak said that it is important that a rate cut of 50 to 100 basis points is announced immediately. He also called for dollar liquidity swap as India was in a comfortable position as far as its dollar reserves are concerned.

Given the need to help people at the bottom of the pyramid, CII has called for cash into the bank accounts of all whose earnings are below Rs 5 lakhs. All Indian citizens should be given cash in their accounts through the direct benefit transfer; While those below 25 years can be given a one-time payment of Rs 5000, senior citizens above 65 age can be given Rs 10,000, CII has said.

According to CII, there is a need to ensure that all migrant workers continue to stay in the cities where they work and so providing for enablers is crucial. All borrowers should be given a three-month moratorium on all loans and all repayment obligations should be suspended for this period, it said.

CII also emphasised that there is an immediate need to facilitate and enable advances for ways and means for industry across sectors and the government could perhaps explore options of a moratorium on interest and principle for the next three months. It also pitched for suspension of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) proceedings while redefining norms for NPAs as several companies will be unable to meet their payment obligations. The CII also recommended for close coordination between regulators like RBI, MCA and SEBI to get effective results and implementation.

By Chitranjan Kumar

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