Mumbai, March 19 (IANS) With huge losses and unemployment and bankruptcies looming ahead, the Federation of Associations of Indian Tourism & Hospitality (FAITH) on Thursday sought urgent intervention of the Centre to tackle the crisis arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
FAITH Chairman Nakul Anand said with declining revenues in almost all tourism businesses, there is a huge dearth of working capital that has hit the industry, according to a letter to the PM by the apex body of all national associations representing the entire travel, tourism and hospitality sector.
With the responsibility of paying staff salaries, servicing EMIs, advance taxes, provident fund, ESIC, GST, Excise and other state levies, bank guarantees and security deposits, the industry needs the support of the government, he said.
Anand urged Modi to grant a 12-month moratorium of paying their EMIs on loans and working capital from financial institutions, both banking and non-banking.
“Additionally, we request for doubling of our working capital limits and on interest-free and collateral-free terms. This will prevent all our tourism businesses from going bankrupt,” Anand said.
As a further measure to prevent insolvencies, FAITH has sought a deferment of 12 months for all statutory dues like GST, Advance Taxes, PF, ESIC, Customs duties at the centre and excise, levies, taxes, power and water charges, bank guarantees, security deposits and deferment of all renewals, across the tourism, travel, hospitality and aviation industry.
Anand also requested the government to set up a support fund for a year on the lines of MNREGA to support basic salaries with ‘direct transfer’ to the accounts of affected tourism employees.
In an advisory, the Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI), today called upon all its members to “strictly adhere and follow” the government’s instructions to arrest the spread of coronavirus.
It has advised members to keep their outlets open unless there are specific directives from local authorities, but maintain stringent checks and hygiene standards, said FHRAI Vice-President Gurbaxish Singh Kohli.
“The FHRAI has members around the country and we are not asking anyone to shut down their establishments. But we are insisting that everyone who is open to business be extremely aware and vigilant and that they take all the precautionary measures, and follow the directives by the local authorities,” said Kohli.
The FHRAI has advised members that staff and customers be thoroughly screened for any symptoms of cough, cold, flu and must be sent for immediate medical checkup at the nearest government hospital, clean and sanitize the hotel/restaurant premises as per the guidelines from the concerned authorities, said Joint Secretary Pradeep Shetty.