Movement of workers, raw material key hurdles in restart of businesses: CII survey

Supply chain movement, permits for enterprises and passes for workers are the key hurdles for industry to restart operations, industry body CII said in a survey.

Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) based its views on findings of a nation-wide survey conducted by it on 180 companies.

The survey indicates that permits for enterprises, passes for workers and supply chain movement are the key hurdles for industry in exit from lockdown.

“For facilitating restart of economic activities, CII has suggested that in non-containment zones, businesses should be allowed to function without requirement of permits and only through intimation to local authorities. Moreover, workers can be permitted to commute on the basis of a letter issued by the employer organisation, with the facility to travel on their own vehicles,” said the industry body’s Director General Chandrajit Banerjee.

The survey was conducted to determine the effectiveness of the exit from lockdown in specified zones and sectors, and elicited responses from across the country, covering many sectors and enterprises of all sizes.

A majority of respondents stated that guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on 15 and 16 April on operational zones in rural and urban areas are clearly communicated by state governments.

For sectors allowed to function, 46 per cent of the surveyed enterprises said that permits are either not provided or are delayed. However, over two-fifths of respondents received permits smoothly.

CII recommended that approvals of applications must have clear mandated deadlines with a provision for automatic permits after the specified time.

Regarding movement of workers, as many as 42 per cent of respondents in the survey stated that passes for employees are delayed or not available.

Similarly, two-thirds of those surveyed pointed out that transportation of employees between the workplace and home is an issue.

As a result, the employee strength of 58 per cent of enterprises was below 25 per cent, with less than one-tenth respondents having an employment strength of more than half. This also indicated that social distancing norms are being followed, according to the survey.

The movement of inputs and finished goods came up as another major hurdle. Only 15 per cent of the respondents answered that the movement is timely, while 39 per cent are experiencing delays and as many as 23 per cent stated that inputs are not available.

While fear of coronavirus cases impacted the opening decision of only 4 per cent of respondents, as many as 39 per cent fear that positive cases could invite criminal allegations against the business. The clarification issued by the MHA that this would not be the case would go a long way to instil confidence and encourage more businesses to open up, CII said in the report.

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