COVID-19: CAIT urges PM to form GoM for impacted businesses

New Delhi (IANS) The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) on Thursday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to constitute a Group of Ministers (GoM) to tackle the impact of coronavirus epidemic on India's trade and industry.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, the traders' body has said that the GoM should first examine whether the import of products from China or other impacted countries is safe or poses a threat to the health of Indians.

"We would like to draw your kind attention towards the impact of coronavirus on trade and industry and supply chain of the country and shall request you that if you deem fit, please constitute a Group of Ministers to deal with the issue," it said.

It reiterated its suggestion that a special package should be provided to Indian traders and small industries to strengthen their production capacity to ensure that supply chain does not get disrupted.

"Under long term measures, the government should also carve out ways and means to ensure that over dependence on any country should not happen as it will cripple our economy," said the letter signed by Praveen Khandelwal, National Secretary General of CAIT.

It said, as exports from China have completely stopped, the GoM should look into all aspects to ensure an uninterrupted supply chain and assess the need for required facilitation for immediate expansion of production capacity or usage of spare capacity of small industries in the country to their optimum level.

The organisation has written the letter to the Prime Minister just days after it wrote to Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal urging him to convene a meeting with trade and industry representative to talk on the impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak on Indian traders and industries and carve out measures to support the affected businesses.

On Tuesday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said she will discuss with the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) about the relief that could be offered to the industry but allayed any immediate worries about the scarcity of many raw materials as yet on account of inventories built up by sectors as also on price rise.

"There could be some disruptions in supplies and concerns have been expressed by the representative of pharma, solar and chemical industries," she said, adding the industry has sought easier bank payments and paperwork processes."

The government will soon announce measures to deal with the impact of coronavirus outbreak on the domestic industry," she said.

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