FHRAI Seeks Covid Support Under EPCG and SEIS Schemes, and Many More

-CB Edit Desk 

Apex body for hotel and restaurant sector in India — Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) has now urged the new Union Minister for Tourism, Culture and Development of North-Eastern Region G. Kishan Reddy for required steps to revive the Covid-battered hospitality sector in India, as reported by The Financial Express. The association presented the minister with a comprehensive wish-list highlighting concerns and recommendations for the revival of the sector. FHRAI highlighted the need for support under Export Promotion Capital Goods (EPCG) and Service Exports from India Scheme (SEIS) schemes, GST rationalization, policy reforms, enabling Ease of Doing Business, challenges faced by the industry from Copyright Societies and the amendments required in the Copyright Act, 1957 along with challenges faced from the Online Travel Aggregators (OTAs) and Food Service Aggregators (FSAs).

“We briefed him on the ground realities of the hospitality sector and have submitted a comprehensive representation recommending the topmost priorities for its revival. The pandemic has completely battered the hospitality industry and in the wish-list presented to the Minister, we have highlighted the most immediate reforms required from the government,” said Pradeep Shetty, Joint Secretary, FHRAI.

The minister promised support of his ministry to clear bottlenecks and introduce reforms to expedite the recovery of the sector and assured to meet the industry stakeholders at regular intervals to seek their inputs, FHRAI said. Reddy also promised that the ministry will come out with a National Tourism Policy shortly with a road map for the fast recovery of the sector.

The Reserve Bank of India had last month announced separate liquidity support of Rs 15,000 crore with tenure up to three years for Covid-hit contact-intensive sectors such as hospitality and ancillary services till March 31, 2022. However, FHRAI had also reached out to the former tourism minister Prahlad Singh Patel and MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari for immediate fiscal measures.

“Hotels’ recovery would take at least three years after everything gets back to normal and travel is fully allowed. It would be juvenile to think about recovery in the coming few months of unlock to reach the pre-Covid levels. Even if people start eating out and travel, it would not compensate for the 1.5 years of closure. Restaurants will take 1.5 years to recover if there are no restrictions and no social distancing norms. The sector has a large portion of MSMEs,” Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, Vice President, FHRAI had told Financial Express Online.

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