Now is the time to move forward and re-open the economy: top K'taka govt official

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Bengaluru, June 2 (PTI): Time has come for Karnataka to move forward and 're-open' the economy as the State has reached a stage where it can resume industrial operations in a staggered phase, Chief Secretary P Ravi Kumar said on Wednesday, as he took note of the impact of COVID lockdown on industries.

The state government today held a meeting with industry representatives and office-bearers from industry bodies to discuss issues concerning business impact due to Covid lockdown, during which they also sought for waiver of tariff, taxes, and to boost vaccination drive.

The meeting touched upon the issues impacting their businesses due to Covid lockdown, suggestions for solutions, and relief from the government and measures for restarting the economy post the lockdown, an official release said.

We had reached the peak of the covid-19 second wave in May and had taken strict measures. To bring the second wave under control, the government had to resort to stringent measures and impose a lockdown. However, we have now reached a stage and can resume industries operations in a staggered phase. Now is the time to move forward and re-open the economy, Kumar was quoted as saying in a release.

Many issues raised by the industry bodies are reasonable.

Few are financial and non-financial, and the government would take a look into these demands.

On the opening of essential and non-essential industries, he said, 'We will think about it in the coming days.' The Chief Secretary also thanked the industry bodies and associations that helped the government fight the second wave for the last 45 days.

On tackling the third wave, the government is working round the clock, and an SOP shall be in place to handle the pandemic, he said.

The Covid-19 second wave has seen a decline in the revenues across sectors now poses an existential crisis for many businesses, impacting their viability for the next 6-12 months with the shortage of capital flow as the main challenge, the release said.

A decline in economic activities during lockdowns has threatened business continuity for many small businesses, making MSMEs one of the worst-hit sectors, it said.

Suggestions made by industry bodies during the meeting include: To consider MSME workers as frontline workers and get them vaccinated, waiver of the monthly excise licence for the next six months (Rs 75,000 is the monthly licence fee), waiver of BESCOM (power) bills and fixed charges for the lockdown period, among others. PTI KSU NVG NVG

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