While the Centre has said the relaxations will be subject to clearances from state governments and local authorities, it strictly bars them from providing further relaxations. “It is imperative that lower level authorities get the power to use their discretionary judgement to provide specific relaxations in areas where they can be freely given,” Banerjee added.
Industries have also cheered the government’s move to allow the movement of individuals and vehicles with restrictions for permitted sectors. “In the orange and green zones, buses have been allowed to operate with up to 50 per cent capacity. This will partly ease the pressure on companies, which have struggled to ferry employees to and from industrial units,” said a senior functionary of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci).
However, demands for a stimulus package continued to gather steam. “While a regular assessment of the zones and activities is required to further relax the opening up of business activities, it is also now opportune time for the government to come up with the financial package, especially for the micro, small and medium enterprises, and for industry on the whole,” said Sangita Reddy, president of Ficci.
This was echoed by others as well. “Businesses across different sectors, be it hospitality, construction, logistics, manufacturing and trade find themselves locked up in grave financial woes. Fixed costs such as wages, electricity, rentals, communication are hard to meet even as operational losses are inevitable. Such a dire state of affairs demands a large fiscal stimulus, even if it requires monetisation of fiscal deficit by direct lending by RBI to the government,” said Assocham
Secretary General Deepak Sood.
has also petitioned the government to include reduction in goods and services tax rates, government guarantee to banks for lending to weaker businesses, release of all government dues, and restructuring of loans in a possible stimulus.