EPCH urges govt to consider 50% wage relief to workers for 3 months
New Delhi: With nation-wide lockdown coming in force from Wednesday onwards, the Export Promotion Council of Handicrafts (EPCH) has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to consider 50 per cent wage compensation to workers engaged in this sector for the next three months and encouraging Indian missions abroad to organise buyer-seller meets over video-conferencing for potential products in specified markets.
Notably, handicrafts, which is an important employment generating sector of the Indian economy, provides livelihood and employment to over 7 million persons from all across country specially belonging to weaker sections of society, including a large number of women.
In a letter written to PM Modi, Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, the EPCH has requested the government to bear the employee's share of PF and ESIC for a period of 6 months.
It also urged the government to facilitate faster clearance of banking and packing credit to the industry and extend the packing credit period for existing loans upto a period of 360 days from existing period of 270 days.
The EPCH has further urged the government to extend bill realisation period from 9 months to 1 year (365 days) in view of the liquidity challenges and exemption from caution listing of exporters by RBI to be extended from March 31 to March 31, 2021
Implementation of collateral-free lending up to Rs 2 crores for MSME, capping of collateral requirement to 35-40 per cent for lending beyond Rs 2 crore, waiving off interest and incidental charges on export credit up to September, extension of interest equalisation scheme for a period of 2 years till March 21, 2022 at the rate of 7 per cent both for merchant and manufacturer exporter.
It also demanded extension of export obligation period under advance authorization by one year.
However, the EPCH has estimated an initial loss of about Rs 8,000 crore to Rs 10,000 crore to the sector. The losses also include disruption in around Rs 3,000 crore business that may have been generated from the 49th edition of IHGF Delhi fair which was scheduled to be held from April 15 to 19 April 2020.
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