BENGALURU: Nasscom, tech services and startup industry body, has sought immediate relief from the government to ensure business continuity for startups amid the nationwide lock-down.

The Union government announced a 21-day lockdown beginning March 24 to contain the spread of corona virus or COVID-19.

Nasscom has requested the government to support the technology product startups with a slew of measures ranging from extension of tax payment deadline to temporary refund of GST collected as loan.

“The Covid 19 pandemic has caused high stress on start-ups putting their continuity at risk. They are looking to governments to provide support and relief,” said Nasscom in a statement.

Some of the important measures demanded from the government to help the startups include rental subsidy for workspaces used by start-ups which are regulated/owned/managed by government agencies; blanket suspension of all deadlines including tax payment deadlines and filing deadlines until at least four weeks post lifting of all city lockdown.

The industry body said that the pandemic has created a significant liquidity crunch for the sector and to ensure timely payment of salaries to employees, the banks may voluntarily provide for an overdraft facility or interest free and equity convertible funding to start-ups.

Nasscom has demanded one-time provident fund opt out option for employees. “The Government can consider providing an option to the employees for a onetime PF opt-out option for the next financial year 2020-21. In such a case, both the employee and employer contributions towards the PF may be transferred directly to the employee. This will result in an increase in the take home pay of the employees,” said Nasscom in the representation made to the government.

The industry body has also requested the government institutions and PSUs to be encouraged to procure make-in-India software products thereby helping these startups meet at least 40% of the procurement need.

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