23 March 2020
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday interacted with industry representatives through video conference on measures to curb and mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the Indian economy.
Representatives from industry chambers such ASSOCHAM, FICCI, CII and several local chambers from 18 cities across the country took part in the video conferencing, said an official statement. Principal Secretary, Cabinet Secretary and Secretary, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) also participated in the interaction.
The discussion involved specific issues being faced by sectors like banking, finance, hospitality, tourism, infrastructure and requested for help to overcome these challenges through financial and fiscal assistance. Industry representatives also appreciated the importance of instituting a lockdown, irrespective of economic losses, to prevent the spread of the virus, said the statement.
Among several suggestions, industry chambers have reportedly sought cash transfer as a one-time temporary measure to boost demand, increase in fiscal deficit by 200 basis points to infuse liquidity and deferment of interest payments and standard loan repayment by two quarters.
Speaking to the representatives, Prime Minister said that while the government was working on giving fillip to the pace of growth in the country, an unforeseen hurdle in the form of COVID-19 came in front of the economy.
He said that the challenge posed by the pandemic is graver than even that posed by the World Wars and we need to be on constant vigil to prevent its spread.
The Prime Minister noted that several sectors like tourism, construction, hospitality and daily life engagements including the informal sector have been hit due to COVID-19. The impact on the economy will be felt for some time to come, he said.
Along with asking the industry leaders to allow employees to work from home, Modi exhorted them to adopt a humanitarian approach and not to cut down on workforce in spite of the negative impact on their businesses, the statement said.
He said it is imperative that production of essential items should not be impacted at this time, and black marketing and hoarding be prevented. He also requested them to use their CSR funding for humanitarian causes related to the pandemic at this critical juncture.
The industry representatives informed the Prime Minister about the steps being taken by them to maintain supply lines of essential items and medical equipment including ventilators, assistance in creation of isolation wards, utilization of CSR funds for combating COVID-19 and provision of assistance to migrant labour.