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Hospitality sector appeals to PM for Covid relief measures

The Hotels Association of India has appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to introduce relief measures for the hospitality sector immediately, saying 70 percent of the jobs supported by the industry are in danger.

In a press statement, the industry lobby said it has sought sops including one-time settlement of loans, extension of loan moratoriums till September 2021 and waiver of all statutory liabilities for the pandemic period.

It has also sought ”infrastructure status” for the sector, including tourism and hospitality in the concurrent list of the Constitution, as per the statement, which added that 40 percent of the hotels have shut down or are on the brink of closure.

The statement comes amid reports of a package being considered for the sector, which is facing a renewed battle for survival amid the second wave of COVID-19 and resultant localised lockdowns.

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The statement explained that the increasing loan burden at a time of almost non-existent income may increase non-performing assets (NPAs) of banks, and the moratorium will provide a breathing space to the industry.

It said the demand of waiving statutory liabilities towards the central and state governments as well as local bodies is a reiteration of an earlier demand, and in line with principles of natural justice.

The industry body has also sought a 50 percent subsidy on the salaries paid to the staff for fiscal year 2021-22, and added that many other countries are doing so.

The ”infrastructure status” will enable the industry to access long term funds at lower rates and will encourage greater investments in tourism infrastructure, the lobby said.

It argued that at present, relief measures granted to the sector differ from state to state, and there is a need for closer coordination.

“Featuring tourism and hospitality in the concurrent list of the Constitution will facilitate a stronger coordinating role for the Ministry of Tourism,” it said.

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