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CII Prez Seeks Cut in GST Rate on Consumer Goods to Lift Demand

The Confederation of India Industry will discuss with its members the idea of compulsory vaccination as employees return to work, president TV Narendran said, as he called for the fastest possible vaccination, including incentives in the hinterlands, to manage the pandemic.

Narendran, who took over as the president of the industry body last week, batted for a temporary cut in goods and services tax rate on consumer goods to lift demand, and sought measures for healthcare, travel, tourism and more support to the rural employment guarantee scheme.

“Certainly, some of us have discussed that (making vaccination compulsory), but as CII we have to take a view, but the starting point is of course we can only announce that if there are enough vaccines available,” he said in an interaction with ET.There is a vaccine task force (at the CII)which is working on this, said Narendran, who is the global chief executive and managing director of Tata Steel. India needs to spend at least 3% of its GDP on healthcare infrastructure, besides addressing the gap in supply of  paramedical staff, Narendran said.

RECOVERY AND STIMULUS

The initial indication are that rural markets should be strong and the disruption was not as significant as last year because supply chains were not as disrupted, Narendran said.

The global growth has also been much stronger and the recovery faster which is also helping, he pointed out. “We believe that economic activity will start picking up,” he said.

The CII chief wants the government to consider reducing GST rater by 2-3 percentage point for the next six months, look at some measures for services that have been hit hard and see if more support can be given to the rural employment guarantee scheme.

COMMODITY PRICES

Narendran said fixed price contracts were an emerging area of concern for micro, small and medium enterprises, which were suffering because of volatility in the global commodity markets.

The Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme for MSMES can also be extended till March of next year, he suggested. S -ET

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