Corporate India expects the relief measures announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will bring in the much-needed relief for the worst impacted sectors of the economy. The finance minister on June 28 announced a host of relief measures such as a Rs 1.1 lakh crore loan guarantee scheme for COVID-affected sectors and extension of financial support to 11,000 registered tourist guides and Travel & Tourism Stakeholders.
Taking cognisance of the need to support the economy which has been adversely affected by the second wave of the pandemic, CII President said, “We are heartened by the targeted interventions announced by the government, with a special focus on health and tourism. The liquidity boosting measures to keep the enterprises afloat in the aftermath of COVID 2.0 in the form of extending loan guarantees to the healthcare, tourism sectors, and small borrowers, in addition to increasing the scope of ECLGS by Rs 1.5 lakh crore are very welcome steps,” said TV Narendran, President, Confederation of Indian Industry.
Indian Chamber of Commerce also welcomed the measures. Its President Vikash Agarwal said the timely intervention will definitely provide a boost to sectors like health, microfinance, tourism, fertiliser, export, digital connectivity, electronics, power distribution, etc.
The measures have been particularly welcomed by the tourism and hospitality industry, one of the most affected due to the pandemic.
Aloke Bajpai, CEO and Director of travel e-commerce website ixigo, said the announcement of a free tourist visa to the first 5 lakh tourists coming to India by March 31, 2022 is a welcome step. “This move will surely boost the morale of the travel and tourism sector and aid in faster recovery of inbound tourism,” he added.
The industry now is optimistic that normal international flights will resume operations soon as vaccine drive gathers space.
MP Bezbaruah, Secretary-General, Hotel Association of India, too, hailed the government's move, however, Bezbaruah noted that the industry hopes that such measures will be logically followed by measures to make the industry recover and be ready to welcome tourists.
“Measures like liquidity support and exemption from statutory taxes,” he added.
Another major beneficiary of Monday’s announcements will be the healthcare sector, which has taken the brunt of the pandemic.
The pin-point focus on augmenting manpower and infrastructural resources for paediatric care is a welcome step and a new beginning, said Dr Harsh Mahajan, President, NATHEALTH and Founder Mahajan Imaging.
While the increased outlay of 50,000 crore on scaling up medical infrastructure in the metropolitan cities, as well as other areas, would be useful in the short term, he added, has to be increased manifold to make up for the neglect of the healthcare sector over the past several decades.
Mahajan urged the government to introduce more measures for the health care sector.
“Loans should be provided readily to the private sector for upgrading existing infrastructure and building new ones, at very low-interest rates, preferably zero, as ROI in this sector is very slow and low,” he said.“There can be no better time than the present, to fulfill the long-pending demand of the healthcare sector to be accorded infrastructure status,” he added.