Exporters to Raise Wages Issues & Factory Operations with Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal

File photo of Piyush Goyal

File photo of Piyush Goyal

The minister will take stock of the situation and the issues which exporters are facing due to lockdown on account of coronavirus outbreak, an official said.

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Exporters will seek immediate roll out of support measures and permission for opening up their factories with 50 per cent of workforce during a video conference meeting called by Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday.

Representatives from various Export Promotion Councils (EPCs) including from sectors such as apparel and leather will participate in the deliberations, besides the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO).

This will be the third such meeting since March 27.

The minister will take stock of the situation and the issues which exporters are facing due to lockdown on account of coronavirus outbreak in the country, an official said.

FIEO President S K Saraf said, "Partial opening of factories is very important. We are not able to carry out the maintenance work also. The government should give permission to open factories with at least 50 per cent of our workforce".

He said exporters are "eagerly waiting" for roll out of a special package as countries like China have announced huge incentives for their exporters.

"To be in the market, we have to start operations. Small and MSME business are not able to pay wages and salaries," he added.

Sharing similar views, Apparel EPC Chairman A Sakthivel said the government should pay employers' as well as employees' contribution for Provident Fund and Employees' State Insurance as it would not have much bearing on the exchequer.

China is rapidly taking steps to tap global markets and India should also take such steps so that domestic exporters don't lose their buyers and fulfil their export obligations, exporters said.

Currently, manufacturing, transportation and trade of essential goods are allowed without any interruption during the lockdown.

Saraf also said that as part of a support package, the government should give loans to companies to pay wages, salaries, rent and power bills for six months.

The loan should be given without additional collateral or paperwork to all industrial units who have a clean record with banks before lockdown, and the repayment should be in 18 equal installments after an initial moratorium of six months, he added.

Ludhiana-based exporter S C Ralhan said fixed charges levied may be waived and industry may be charged only on the actual consumption of electricity, and immediate refund of IGST will help exporters in dealing with liquidity issues.

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