India Inc supports lockdown extension, seeks stimulus package to rebuild economy

India Inc has extended support to the country wide Covid-19 lockdown extension but insisted on the need for economic relief package to protect jobs and small businesses

 

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the current lockdown will be extended till May 3,2020, saying it is necessary to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

 

"FICCI is encouraged by the decision that while our priority will continue to be on saving lives, we will continue to take measures to preserve the livelihoods and bring the economy back on track," said its President Sangita Reddy.

 

"Estimates show that India may be losing close to Rs 40,000 crore daily due to the national lockdown with an estimated loss amounting to Rs 7-8 lakh crore during the past 21 days. Hence an urgent relief package is also critical. The Prime Minister's directions on graded opening will help start some production activity to ensure that as soon as lockdown opens, there are no shortages faced".

 

Meanwhile, CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee stated the Prime Minister has provided guidance on exit from the lockdown post April 20 which will help the industry plan better.

 

"The extension gives the government adequate preparation time to organise an orderly and safe restart of the economy as and when health conditions permit. The industry too can devise its strategies for commencing operations accordingly during this extension period," he asserted in a statement.

 

FIEO President Sharad Kumar Saraf too backed the lockdown extension but said the deferment of the selective opening of the industry is disappointing.

 

"Shifting of the goalpost will not help in avoiding stark realities which we have to face whenever we open. The start of selective manufacturing will also be a long-drawn battle due to the unavailability of labour, raw material and transport which will resume normalcy only after a few months of selective opening," said Saraf.

 

He also called for a comprehensive economic package with interest-free credit to cover 6 months of wages, rent and utilities along with a moratorium to repay in instalments after 6 months.

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