Showcasing solidarity and concerns in relation to the pandemic COVID – 19, associations such as FAITH (Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality), along with CII Tourism National Committee and ASSOCHAM Tourism sub-committee have written a joint letter to Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, Honourable Finance Minister, Government of India, New Delhi and thus looking forward to her urgent intervention.
The letter signed by Nakul Anand, Chairman, FAITH, Subash Goyal, Chairman ASSOCHAM Tourism Committee and Deepak Haskar, Chairman CII Tourism National Committee, identified the following points of urgent concern of the tourism industry and requested her for her kind support on the coronavirus onslaught which has really hit the tourism industry of India very badly.
a) Indian Tourism industry is looking at pan India bankruptcies, closure of businesses and mass unemployment as a result of this pandemic. It is estimated that around 70 per cent out of a total estimated workforce of 5.5 crores (direct and indirect) could get unemployed (~ 3.8 crores).
b) A large % of total tourism business activity of India, which is estimated at $ 28 billion + in forex and upwards of Rs. 2 lakh crores in domestic tourism activity will be at economic risk through the year. Thus, in excess of Rs 5 lakh crores of direct tourism industry and almost double that of total economic activity is at risk.
c) The current situation on tourism is equivalent to a national disaster and requires a response invoked from perhaps laws suitable to handling such a national disaster for rehabilitation and urgent support of the people of this industry. If not addressed immediately the impact of this pandemic will stretch over years and revival of jobs will become almost impossible. This effect of job losses and layoffs has already begun throughout the country.
The tourism bodies also requested for immediate support for revival and survival on the following points:
- A twelve months moratorium on their EMIs of principle and interest payments on loans and working capital from all Financial Institutions (banking & non-banking). Additionally, a request for doubling of their working capital limits and on interest free and collateral free terms.
- A deferment for twelve months of all statutory dues whether GST, Advance Tax payments, PF, ESIC, customs duties at the Central Government level or at any state government level the excise fees, levies, taxes, power and water charges, deferred renewals periods for all permits, licenses, bank guarantees & security deposits across the tourism, travel, hospitality & aviation industry.
- A support fund for twelve months on the lines of MNREGA to support basic salaries with ‘direct transfer’ to affected tourism employees.
- TCS (tax collected at source) on travel as proposed in Finance Bill 2020 from April 1st 2020 not to be introduced.
- A deferment of increase in any insurance premium for a period of 12 months such as for example for Standard fire and special perils rate for fire, loss or profits.
- The restoration of 10 per cent duty credit of SEIS scripts and the previous year’s foreign exchange earnings can be taken as a reference point for credit.
- A 200 percent weighted exemption for twelve months on expenses to Indian corporates to hold exhibitions. Conferences and incentive trips in India.
- A national tourism task force of all relevant ministries of the Central Government along with ministry of tourism and chief secretaries of State governments and industry stakeholders to be created and headed by the Honourable Prime Minister of India.
While very much understanding and evaluating the situation, the Finance Minister has assured to look into the points presented.