Tourism SOS. Government Should Give Us Tax Breaks On Holidays
The Prime Minister's speech on June 30 coincided with the inauguration of Unlock 2.0. This is the phase when government policy should gradually be making the transition from relief to repair - repair of the economy from the ill-planned lockdown. Unfortunately, the speech had little in terms of economic foresight and planning. It is not that the government is without funds. Raising petrol and diesel prices, and accessing the Rs 8,000 crore saved following the suspension of the MPLAD scheme, has given the government room to spend. We had suggested that this money be used to transfer Rs 10,000 directly to the accounts of each worker in the unorganized sector, who comprise nearly 90% of our workforce. But this government has decided to ignore workers and has chosen not to upfront help small businesses, especially in those sectors that generate enormous employment, both direct and indirect.
One such industry is hospitality and travel. To tell you its plight, and to explain how some of this could have been anticipated, let me take you back to March 5, almost four months ago. India was in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a country, we had only 30 positive cases. Even so, it was apparent to some of us that the danger was coming. The government continued to be in denial, but in neighbouring and regional countries, the panic was starting and the numbers were mounting. Six days later, the World Health Organisation formally declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a "pandemic".
More on: www.ndtv.com