New Delhi [India], Mar 26 (ANI): As the nation battles the outbreak of novel coronavirus, the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) has stressed the need for ensuring smooth supply of essential goods and continuity and sustainability of businesses during this challenging time.
"It is crucial to ensure that the lockdown of the country is as painless as possible. We acknowledge a series of landmark initiatives being introduced by the government on a continuous basis to reduce the pain of society and the economy. We appreciate various measures undertaken by the government to facilitate the sustainability and continuity of businesses in the country. CII shall continue supporting the government in its initiatives by providing regular feedback from the industry," said Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII.
CII has suggested various measures to ensure that the lockdown is painless. It said that transportation bottlenecks should be removed for suppliers of essential commodities and services.
It further suggested: "There is also a need to waive off the late fees on delayed filing of bills of entry, demurrage and detention charges on the traders. The ICEGATE should also be updated not to calculate late filing fees up to April 30."
"All export shipments of essential and emergency commodity, which are self-sealed by E-Sealing provision of the Customs, should be considered as direct Let Export Order and should be allowed Direct Port Entry instead of being routed through parking plaza with a lot of human interaction," CII said.
The government may consider duty exemption for items being imported for fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, like protective body gear, isolation chambers, ventilators, testing kits, etc.
The government may consider including soaps, handwash, sanitizers and packaging industry as 'Essential Commodities' so that their production and supplies continue. Hand Sanitisers are unaffordable for the common people. The reduction of GST from the current level of 18 per cent to nil would help in making it more affordable.
With the financial year coming to close, it is important to allow a fraction of the staff in the banking and financial services to work onsite to complete international client obligations like book closure and regulation filing between the last week of March and the first ten days of April 2020.
CII went on to suggest that the government may consider having a uniform definition of 'essential goods and services' across all states to include IT/ITES/telecom/banking, financial services, among others.
Further, with a view to cut time in seeking approvals and reduce the burden of the authorities, companies in this challenging time should be allowed to self-certify for undertaking production, transport, distribution, etc of essential goods and services.
"We are confident that these recommendations would prove to be helpful in minimizing the pains of the lockdown. We remain committed to work with the government and provide our regular feedback in this time of COVID-19 crisis, which is impacting one and all," added Banerjee. (ANI)