Fibre2Fashion: Indian exporters recently urged the government to take several measures like allowing them to operate factories with minimum workforce, subsidy on interest rates and extend incentive schemes to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. The demands were raised during a video conference meeting called by commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal last week.
The meeting was attended by representatives from various export promotion councils (EPCs) to assess the impact of the outbreak and lockdown across the country, according to a government press release.
The minister assured the councils that the government will try to be accommodative with their reasonable demands and come out with practical outcomes.
During the meeting, the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) suggested that all manufacturing companies in exports should be allowed to operate with 50 per cent of the manpower with full sanitation and safety with social distancing norms as loss in exports will result in market loss that will be extremely difficult to recover.
FIEO director general Ajay Sahai said India’s loss will be a benefit for China, which is using all means to gain greater market access with increased incentives.
The other recommendations made include extension of the Foreign Trade Policy 2015-2020 by an year; extension of interest subsidy scheme for 2020-25 with effect from April 1; and an amnesty scheme for regularisation of default by payment of only customs duty without interest and penalty to lessen the burden on industry.
FIEO also said 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 is broken.
It requested for extension in pre- and post-shipment credit by a minimum of 180-270 days, waiver of PF/ESI charges for all industry from March to June 2020 as the industry will bear the wage cost during the period of lockdown with no or less business affecting their liquidity.
The organisations that took part in the video conference included those from sectors like leather, apparel, sports, electronics, telecom, silk, gems and jewellery, cashew and plastics.