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Policy & Politics

Policy measures required to revive hospitality, travel and tourism sectors, post Covid-19

Combination of monetary, fiscal and financial market measures needed to help businesses cope with Covid-19.

Tarun Nangia

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The hotel industry needs to be granted infrastructure status which will allow them to avail better infrastructure lending rates with access to larger amounts of funds as external commercial borrowings, said the FICCI-Grant Thornton Report ‘Travel and Tourism: Survive, Revive and Thrive in Times of COVID-19’, which has suggested measures to revive the hotels, aviation sector, travel agents, tour operators, amusement parks, ground transport industry.

The report, a copy of which was accessed by this writer,highlights that there is an urgent need to take immediate steps to not only contain the spread of the virus but also to address the key pain areas of the industry to minimise the impact of the outbreak on the Indian economy and businesses.

The demands made to get back the hospitality, travel and tourism industry on track are granting export status to the industry under Section 2 (6) of IGST Act for foreign exchange earnings. Draft National Tourism Policy to aid collaboration between the union and state ministers of tourism to develop and promote India in domestic and foreign markets alike and 6-month moratorium to be extended to a minimum 12-month moratorium period on all working capital, principal, interest payments, loans and overdrafts.

The report also says banks should permit one-time rescheduling of principal/interest dues in line with the estimated cash flows of each project post recovery from COVID-19 without treating it as restructuring, reclassification/downgrading in asset qualification and requirement of additional provisioning. A 12-month waiver of all statutory dues including customs, excise and license fees and increase in insurance premiums and stimulus package to provide salary support to businesses.

Dipak Deva, Co-Chairman, FICCI Tourism Committee & MD, SITA, TCI & Distant Frontiers said, «This is the opportune time for the government to grant export status to the industry under Section 2 (6) of IGST Act for foreign exchange earnings. The benefits from this will make us more competitive.»

The report further states that ESI contribution to be deferred for 12 months. Insurance corpus of ESI should be used to provide wages to all covered workers. Waiver of GST on products and services offered by the industry for 12 months followed by a standard 5% GST on all products and services till 31 March 2022. Direct cash support for the aviation sector (airlines, ground handling and airports). Waiver of parking and landing charges. Shortterm, interest-free or lowinterest loans for rebuilding businesses in the form of term loans and working capital loans. Create a separate Tourism Fund under the aegis of Ministry of Tourism, accessible to the industry as a collateral free, 10 year loan, interest free for the first two years and minimal rate of interest for the remaining eight years to support businesses stabilise in this time of crisis, the report states.

Dilip Chenoy, Secretary General, FICCI said that travel and tourism sector has been greatly impacted by COVID-19 and has impacted this sector since the start of 2020.

Overall the report suggests that a combination of monetary, fiscal and financial market measures is needed to help the businesses and people cope with the crisis. Therefore, to be able to frame correct actions and policy measures, it is important to understand the specific problems. This alone can enable the government to take appropriate measures.  The Indian travel and tourism industry has a significant impact on the economic growth of India as well as employs tens of millions of people.

Vinod Zutshi,  Former Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Govt of India while highlighting the opportunities in the sector said, “We must focus on increasing investment in the emerging technologies and skill development of the workforce which are required for the new normal scenario.”

 He further added that despite COVID-19 crisis, the government has opened the economy including the travel and tourism. “India is the front runner and we are opening travel and tourism faster than many other countries,” said  Zutshi.

Dr Jyotsna Suri,  Past President, FICCI and Chairperson , FICCI Tourism Committee and Chairman and Managing Director, The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group said that as an industry we are optimistic and resilient. “If the Centre and the State governments along with all stakeholders work together, there is nothing stopping the travel and tourism sector to be the front runner to kick start the Indian economy.”

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Policy & Politics

Share of agri-exports in GDP

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The year-wise details of value of India’s agri-exports of principal agri commodity group along with its share in our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at current prices during last five years is as follows:

The agricultural products having exports of more than Rs 10,000 crore over the last five years is given in the table below. Last year we had 22.8% of growth in agri-exports with a share of 1.6% to GDP (highest in terms of growth and share in the last five years).

Source: DGCI&S, Kolkata and CSO, MoSPI

Source: DGCI&S, Kolkata

Government has taken several measures to boost exports, including agri-exports, such as:

(i) A comprehensive “Agriculture Export Policy” has been introduced toharness export potential of Indian agriculture and raise farmers’ income. Twenty One States viz. Maharashtra, U.P., Kerala, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Manipur, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, M.P., Mizoram, Meghalaya, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh and the 2 UTs vizLadakh and Andaman & Nicobar Islands have finalized the State specific Action Plans. State Level Monitoring Committees (SLMC) has been formed in 26 States and 4 UTs. 28 States & 4 UTs have nominated Nodal agencies for implementation of this AEPs. As part of the Agriculture Export Policy, 46 unique product-district clusters have been identified for export promotion. Twenty-Nine Cluster Level Committees have been formed in cluster districts of different clusters. Country and product-specific action plans have also been formulated to promote exports.

(ii) Products Specific Export Promotion Forums give impetus to the export of potential products as well as to remove the bottlenecks in the supply chain, Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has formed Export Promotion Forums (EPFs) under the Chairmanship of Chairman, APEDA and having representatives of Department of Commerce, Department of Agriculture, State Governments, National Referral Laboratories and top 10 leading exporters of each product for the products, viz., Grapes, Onions, Mango, Banana, Pomegranate, Floriculture, Rice, Dairy Products and Nutricereals.

(iii) 13 Agri-Cells in Vietnam, USA, Bangladesh, Nepal, UAE, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, China, Japan and Argentina were created in Indian embassies abroad to provide inputs on real time basis to enable us to improve Indian exports.

(iv) Further, In order to boost honey exports, India has made NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) testing mandatory for honey exported to USA.

(v) A Farmer Connect Portal has been set up for providing a platform for farmers, Farmer-Producer Organizations (FPOs) and cooperatives to interact with exporters. Buyer-Seller Meets (BSMs) have been organized in the clusters to provide export-market linkages. Regular interactions, through video-conferences, have been held with the Indian Missions abroad to assess and exploit export opportunities. Country specific BSMs, through Indian Missions, have also been organized.

(vi) Assistance provided through several other schemes to promote exports, including food export, viz. Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme (TIES), Market Access Initiatives (MAI) Scheme, etc. In addition, assistance to the exporters of food products is also available under the export promotion schemes of APEDA, Tea Board, Coffee Board and Spices Board.

(vii) Government has also introduced a Central Sector Scheme –‘Transport and Marketing Assistance for Specified Agriculture Products’ – for providing assistance for the international component of freight to mitigate the freight disadvantage for the export of agriculture products.

(viii) Common Digital Platform for Certificate of Origin has been launched to facilitate trade and increase FTA utilization by exporters.

(ix) Active role of Indian missions abroad towards promoting our trade, tourism, technology and investment goals has been enhanced.

(x) Package announced in light of the COVID-19 pandemic to support domestic industry through various banking and financial sector relief measures, especially for MSMEs, which constitute a major share in exports.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Anupriya Patel, in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today.

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Policy & Politics

Share of India’s exports in annual GDP

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The details of exports of goods and services and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at current prices, and percentage share of India’s exports to the GDP for the last five years and current year are as follows:

Source: National Accounts Division, CSO, MoSPI Note: RE: Revised Estimate, PE : Provisional Estimate

Source: National Accounts Division, CSO, MoSPI

The share of export of goods and services in GDP has increased to 18.7% during 2020-21 over 18.4% in 2019-20 and 21.7% in 2021-22 (April-September) over 19.4% in 2020-21 (April-September).

The details of the annual rate of growth of exports of goods and services and the corresponding annual rate of growth of GDP at current prices for the last five years and current year are as follows: This information was given by the Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Anupriya Patel, in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today.

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Policy & Politics

Consolidation of trading relationship with the US

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USA has been the largest trading partner of India with respect to merchandise trade since the FY 2018-19, except 2020-21 when trade with the U.S. declined marginally on account of the Covid-19 pandemic. In the current FY 2021-22 (April- October), USA has once again become the largest trading partner with bilateral merchandise trade of US$ 67.41 billion, accounting for 11.98% of India’s total merchandise trade. (as per DGCIS figures)

India and United States enjoy a comprehensive strategic partnership covering a broad range of areas, underpinned by shared democratic values and vibrant people-to-people contacts. Trade and commercial ties form an important component of this multi-faceted partnership. India and the U.S. are continuously engaged in strengthening these ties through bilateral dialogue mechanisms at Ministerial level including the Trade Policy Forum and Commercial Dialogue.

The 12th India-U.S. Trade Policy Forum meeting co-chaired by the Commerce and Industry Minister of India and the U.S. Trade Representative was held recently in November, 2021 at New Delhi, in which both the Ministers discussed various outstanding trade issues for early resolution on mutual basis, and also reached convergence on certain market access issues.

The bilateral trade with Australia, UAE and Belgium has gone up in the first nine months (Jan-Sept) of Calendar Year 2021. During this period, India’s bilateral trade with Australia has increased to US$ 13.88 billion in 2021 from US$ 7.48 billion in the corresponding period of 2020. The bilateral trade with UAE has grown to US$ 49.06 billion in 2021 from US$ 29.48 billion in 2020 for the same period. The bilateral trade with Belgium has also grown to US$ 13.70 in 2021 from US$ 7.63 billion in 2020 for the same period. (as per DGCIS figures).

This information was given by the Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Anupriya Patel, in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today.

The 12th India-U.S. Trade Policy Forum meeting co-chaired by the Commerce and Industry Minister of India and the U.S. Trade Representative was held recently in November, 2021 in New Delhi, in which both the Ministers discussed various outstanding trade issues for early resolution on mutual basis.

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Policy & Politics

India can emerge as the largest diamond trading hub in the world: Piyush Goyal

Exports of gems and jewellery more than double and rise to $23.62 bn in the first 7 months this FY as compared to last year: Piyush Goyal.

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Piyush Goyal

Union Minister of Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution and Textiles, Piyush Goyal today said India can emerge as the largest diamond trading hub in the world. In a video message during the Inauguration Ceremony of Gems & Jewellery Manufacturing Show – 2021”, organised by the Surat Jewellery Manufacturing Association (SJMA), Shri Goyal said the Government has declared the Gems & Jewellery sector as a focus area for export promotion.

“We have established ourselves as the largest player in diamond cutting & polishing, we can become the largest international diamond trading hub,” he said.

Exports of gems and jewellery this FY in the first 7 months upto October’ 21 was $ 23.62 bn, as compared to $ 11.69 bn (+102.09%) for the same period previous year.

“Superior quality of our manufacturers has enabled us to penetrate markets like Dubai-UAE, USA, Russia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Latin America,” he said.

Goyal said the Government has taken various measures to promote investment for growth of the sector, – Revamped Gold Monetisation Scheme, Reduction in import duty of gold and mandatory hallmarking.

“We have the best artisan force for designing and crafting in the world, there is a need to focus on strengthening creativity & systematic skill development of artisans,” he said, adding, “We should make our products a benchmark of quality, to further expand in new markets & deepen presence in existing ones.”.

Goyal laid out four points to make India’s Gems & Jewellery a pioneer industry in the world:

1.​Focus on Design (creation of patented designs) in order to increase value add of our products and make our manufacturing more profitable.

2.​Diversification of export products: Emphasis on products like pearls, silver, platinum, synthetic stones, artificial diamonds, fashion jewellery, non-gold jeweller, etc.

3.​Collaboration with other nations for cost-effective methods to enhance production of fusion jewellery.

4.​Promote Lab-Grown Diamond: They are environment friendly & affordable and will contribute to India’s export as well as generate employment.

Goyal said Surat is, perhaps, one of the fastest growing cities in the world and is home to more than 450 organised jewellery manufacturers, importers & exporters. It has the potential to become the jewellery manufacturing hub of the world, he added.

“I visited the Diamond Bourse in September on the day of the Honourable Prime Minister’s birthday and I was impressed by the efforts put to create the world’s largest office building which will serve as the hub of all Diamond trading activities. It is an example of Prime Minister’s Aatmanirbharta and your Aatmavishwas. It is a testament of the fact that if we are willing enough we can do anything on our own. Jewellers are woven into the fabric of our nation. People don’t just spend money when they buy gold & jewellery in our country but invest their life’s savings when they do so. Jewellers are the repositories of trust and faith of our people,” said Goyal.

The Minister said, the SJMA, since its inception in 2016, has championed the cause of improving the jewellery industry in Surat. “Their ‘Make in Surat’ programme has facilitated innovation & promoted skill development to build a robust jewellery manufacturing ecosystem.”

Stating that India’s Gems & Jewellery sector is known all over the world for its Charm & Cost Effectiveness, Shri Goyal said this sector embodies the spirit of New India, contributing about 7% of India’s total GDP & employing more than 50 lakh workers. “Our jewellers have mastered the art of diamond manufacturing & jewellery making and have made it a shining example of ‘Make in India’,” he said.

Quoting a proverb, “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything”, Goyal said our G&J sector has the potential to realise the goal of “Local Goes Global and Make in India for the World” and become the driving force of New India. “For progress there is a need for change in mindset,” he said.

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Policy & Politics

Is an inventive move a solution for the sustainability of the fashion industry?

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Clothing industry is the contemplation of our values, culture and society in which we live in. However if we see today it is fundamental reflection of our identity .The fashion industry constitutes a significant part of our economies as well as vicinity, with the worth of more than 2.5 trillion $USD and giving employment to more than 75 million of people worldwide.

The sector has seen extensive amount of growth over the last years, as clothing production has doubled between the tenure from 2000 and 2014.As the fashion industry is achieving sky rocketing success, it is negatively impacting to the environment in terms of carbon emissions, drying up the water sources and polluting water and streams.

We must emphasize on the fact that it’s production not only could seriously influence our environment but people as well as culture we live in.The toxic substances utilised in the production of the textiles is putting harmful impact not only on the health of the human resources engaged but also on the vicinity which is being around it.

But there are some of the solutions through which we could move in a right direction:

Orientation towards Fashion: A developing number of pioneers have changed how they see what shoppers are truly after – admittance to mold, not really responsibility for. An arising wave of organizations are offering clothing as a help .Such plans of action can possibly drive up the nature of items to guarantee life span, make shopping simple while giving a channel to reclaim, reuse or reusing. These models will not be applicable for all market sections or fulfill all purchaser inclinations, yet can absolutely be essential for the arrangement.

Emphasize on Function: From lab-developed calfskin to reasonable cellulose-based materials, great advancements are testing customary suppositions regarding how elite execution materials are created. For instance, Lenzing has fostered a reasonable cellulose-based material, Tencel, that guarantees quality, execution and supportability. Social business visionary Modern Meadow is bringing design into the lab, making “biofabricated” materials, with the first bio-designed cowhide dispatched a year ago. This is just the actual hint of something larger in what developments can be investigated to rethink materials creation.

Formulation of Recovery economy: Today, under 1% of material used to form clothing is reused into new dress, and just 13% of the complete material information is here and there reused after apparel use. While numerous customers think they are doing acceptable by giving garments, the sheer volume of gifts implies a lot of winds up in landfills. Financial motivators to support clothing reusing are feeble, and mechanical advancement is deficient. A couple of computerized stages for apparel reclaim are arising to boost purchasers, like Yellow Octopus, however a solid government push will be needed to rebalance what is presently a messed up market framework for recuperation and reusing. Strategy choices including broadened maker obligation and out and out guideline to, for instance, boycott the consuming of unsold style things have started to come to fruition in nations like France and the UK.

Joint Effort: Youngsters are forming a basic part in making a more manageable design area – with in excess of 30 World Economic Forum Global Shaper center points driving a Shaping Fashion drive through ground-up aggregate activity. While the weight of effect ought not tumble to shoppers to address, their commitment in both requiring a more supportable future, while additionally taking an interest in a roundabout economy for style is basic to move the framework.

While a couple of sparkling stars are making a serious move, they can’t move a whole style framework, with its immensely appropriated supply chains and very cut throat nature. Worldwide public and private area authority supported by activities at scale will be basic. Late certain signs are arising: the assembling body Global Fashion Agenda is advancing a 2020 circularity responsibility that more than 10% of the business has embraced, France is utilizing its G7 initiative to lead an approach push and has approached François-Henri Pinault, CEO of Kering, to bring business along. The European Commission has additionally featured materials as the following need for administrative concentration, and more nations are investigating public strategy and administrative activities.

Eco friendly material mix: There is a requirement of reducing the influence of harmful fibres and requirement of more sustainable fibre.

Fashion system that orient towards closed loop: There should be formulation of those products which take into consideration the reuse and recycling of post customer textiles at scale.

Fourth Industrial Revolution : It means taking into account those possibilities in the digitalization and immerse with the different kinds of stakeholders to prepare for transition of workforce…

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Policy & Politics

Pawan Kumar takes over as Director (Commercial) at Indraprastha Gas Limited

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Pawan Kumar has taken over as Director (Commercial) of Indraprastha Gas Ltd. (IGL), the largest CNG distribution company of the country, operating City Gas Distribution (CGD) networks across 27 districts in ten geographical areas across four states of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan.

A graduate in Industrial Engineering from prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee and post graduate in management from S.P. Jain Institute of Management & Research, Mumbai, Mr. Kumar is a senior leader in hydrocarbon space having a rich experience of over 33 years across multiple regions in various roles during his tenure in Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL). He has worked across the entire value chain in LPG sector, including Marketing, Operations, Maintenance, Safety, Training, Strategy, Network Expansion, Distribution Channel Management, Logistics etc. Before joining the current assignment, he was the Regional LPG Head for Northern Region of BPCL comprising seven states & three Union Territories servicing 2.5 crore customers & 2000 distributors. He has been the pioneer in implementation of Ujjwala Scheme across states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh and Chandigarh.

Mr. Kumar has taken over the position of Director (Commercial) from Mr. Amit Garg, who has been repatriated back to his parent organization BPCL to Head the new vertical of Renewable Energy. IGL is a joint venture of GAIL (India) Ltd. and BPCL along with Govt. of NCT of Delhi.

Mr. Kumar is a senior leader in hydrocarbon space having a rich experience of over 33 years across multiple regions in various roles during his tenure in Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL).

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