CHANDIGARH,18.05.20-As a result of the prolonged lockdown, economic activity across the Tricity, including Chandigarh has also come to standstill. Going forward, there are multiple set of challenges before the Chandigarh Administration, which includes– managing the increase in COVID cases, taking care of poor who have lost their livelihood opportunities, restarting the economic momentum, supporting trade & commerce, etc, said Dr S P S Grewal, Chairman of CII Chandigarh UT.

To deal with these challenges, Dr Grewal suggested Chandigarh Administration to create a war chest or Economic Stimulus Package to the tune of Rs 40 billion, which is about 10 per cent of Chandigarh’s GDP. This may be used in supporting the entire gamut of the economy like industries, service sector, poor and the weaker section of the society and help those in distress owing to COVID-19 lockdown. He said that the stimulus package can be effectively designed to be impactful, yet not significantly burden the finances of the UT. The relief package may consist of a two prong approach, which will not only support consumption, but will also augment the cycle of investment and industrial activity in the coming times.

To deal with the livelihood challenges being faced by people at the bottom of pyramid, Dr Grewal called for special incentives comprising of monetary as well as non-monetary support to daily wage earners. He said that focus should be on the sections of the society which requires more attention of the Administration.

Dr Grewal said that industry, trade and commerce have been severely impacted by the Lockdown disrupting the supply chains. Besides allowing all the industry to open up the Administration needs to offer economic support in the form of waivers, extending compliances validities, and expedite implementation of the MSME act in Chandigarh in toto.

Industry will take time to cope up with many initial challenges before, it starts to operate as was condition during pre-lockdown. Thus, Dr Grewal again urged the Administration to consider providing Wage Subsidy to the extent of 50 per cent of minimum wages for all registered workers for a period of 3 months in manufacturing, handicrafts and services sectors to protect the workers.

Discussing about the MSME sector, Mr Manish Gupta, Vice Chairman of CII Chandigarh said that the Administration should focus more on Ease of Doing Business by automatically extending all renewals/ licenses like that for Pollution, Fire, Labour, etc. by another 12 months, implementation of MSME Act in UT in toto, waiver of fixed electricity charges, waiver of property tax by 6 months, issuing notification for allowing mortgage of industrial property under leasehold & General Power of Authority (GPA), which will encourage banks as well as industry for cash flow issues in this pandemic period etc.