Bengaluru: In the backdrop of second wave of COVID-19, the State Government held a meeting with industry leaders and office-bearers from leading industry bodies to discuss issues concerning business impact due to COVID lockdown here on Wednesday. The meeting was chaired by Chief Secretary P. Ravikumar.
The meeting touched upon issues impacting their businesses due to COVID lockdown, suggestions for solutions and relief from the Government and measures for restarting the economy post the lockdown.
“We had reached the peak of the COVID-19 second wave in May and had taken strict measures. To bring the current wave under control, the Government had to resort to stringent measures and impose a lockdown. However, we have now reached a stage and can resume industries operations in a staggered phase. Now is the time to move forward and re-open the economy,” Ravikumar said during the virtual meeting.
Many issues raised by the industry bodies were reasonable. Few were financial and non-financial and the Government would take a look into these demands. Decision on the re-opening of essential and non-essential industries would be taken soon, he added.
He also thanked the industry bodies and association that helped the Government fight the second wave for the last 45 days. Every industry has helped by distributing food, supplying oxygen, essentials, medicines and surgical equipment.
On possible third wave, the Chief Secretary said that the Government was working round-the-clock and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) would be in place to handle the pandemic.
The COVID second wave, which has seen a decline in the revenues across sectors, now poses an existential crisis for many businesses, impacting their viability for the next 6-12 months with the shortage of capital flow as the main challenge. A decline in economic activities during lockdowns has threatened business continuity for many small businesses, making MSMEs one of the worst-hit sectors.
Important suggestions made by industry bodies are:
1. Consider MSME workers as frontline workers and get them vaccinated.
2. A waiver of the monthly excise licence fee for the next six months. The fee is Rs. 75,000 per month.
3. Waiver of BESCom bills and fixed charges for the lockdown period.
4. Ensure resuming of industries to smoothen the supply chain with other key industrial areas such as NCR, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.
5. Consider MGNREGA for urban poor.
6. Stress on creation of jobs and boost consumption.
Dr. Rajkumar Khatri, Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Industries and Commerce, Gunjan Krishna, Commissioner for Industrial Development and Director, Department of Industries & Commerce, Prashanth Prakash, Advisor (Policy & Strategy) to the Chief Minister, Industrialist T.V. Mohandas Pai, Ullas Kamath, Chairman, FICCI Karnataka State Council, Perikal M. Sundar, President, FKCCI, I.S. Prasad, FKCCI, President-Elect, K.B. Arsappa, President, KASSIA, M.P. Shyam, President, Automobile Association, P.C. Rao, President, Hotel Owners Association, C. Prakash, President, Peenya Industries Association, Prahlad representing IT sector, B.V. Naidu from ASSOCHAM, Shyam Raj of Tourism Industry, Ananda, President, Textile Industry, Govindraj of Real Estate Industry, attended the virtual meeting chaired by the Chief Secretary.