Bengaluru: Reeling under the impact of the Covid pandemic's second wave and the extended lockdown, Karnataka industry has sought waiver of taxes and tariffs and vaccines to protect employees from infection, an official statement said on Wednesday.
"Leaders of Karnataka industry and trade petitioned Chief Secretary P. Ravi Kumar to waive taxes and tariffs to restart their activities after unlocking, as they suffered huge losses due to the extended lockdown," it said.
As Covid cases surged exponentially during the pandemic's second wave across the state, the state government had imposed the lockdown on April 27 and extended it on May 10 up to June 7 to reduce positive cases and deaths.
"The industry and trade representatives also urged Kumar to step up vaccination to inoculate their employees and families ahead of the third wave to minimise disruption to their operations," the statement said.
In a virtual meeting with industry representatives, the Chief Secretary said that with the caseload reducing and the situation coming under control, the government is preparing to unlock in a staggered manner to allow industry, trade and business resume operations soon.
As the extended lockdown led to huge revenue loss across the sectors, the industry leaders said they were facing existential crisis due to shortage of capital flow, which is likely to impact their viability over the next 6-12 months.
Suspension of all activities during the lockdown has threatened business continuity for many sectors, especially micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), they said.
The industry leaders urged the state government to consider MSME works as frontline warriors and vaccinate them on priority.
"Monthly excise license fee of Rs 75,000 should be waived for 6 months. Power tariff bills and fixed electricity charges should be waived for the lockdown period," said the representatives in their joint submission to Kumar.
Noting that various reliefs, both financial and non-financial, sought by the industry bodies were reasonable, Kumar said the state government would look into their concerns and try to address them.
The virtual meeting was attended by Commerce and Industries Secretary Rajkumar Khatri, Industrial Development Commissioner Gunjan Krishana, and other senior officials.
Federation of Karnataka Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Sundar, Karnataka Automobile Association President M.P. Shyam, Karnataka Small Scale Industries Association President Arsappa and Peenya Industrial Area representative N. Prahlad participated on behalf of the industry and trade.