The corporate sector has underlined the importance of ramping up investments in healthcare infrastructure in tier 2 and tier 3 cities and rural areas, which the Government should prioritise in order to brace up to any subsequent future wave of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Also the Government must take all steps to scale up vaccination drive in the country, several business houses have opined.
These are some of the findings of a survey conducted by industry body FICCI on nationwide businesses to assess the impact of the state-level lockdowns on them. Many companies have listed five priority areas which need immediate focus of the Government.
Apart from strengthening health infrastructure in small towns and villages, the respondents have sought that maintaining a sufficient pool of essential medicines for pandemic management and continuing with the newly created temporary facilities, as well as strengthening testing infrastructure and setting up a national facility for vaccine manufacturing, should form the core of the Government’s preparatory work.
According to the feedback received in the survey, the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector has faced the maximum brunt and there is an immediate need for relief to this sector. This view was expressed by nearly 65 per cent of the surveyed companies.
Among other measures listed by companies for relief, ease of compliances, moratorium for loan and interest payments and incentives for boosting demand, were the most significant.
The survey further showed that 58 per cent of the companies saw a ‘high impact’ on their businesses due to the state level lockdowns. Another 38 per cent reported ‘moderate impact’ on their operations due to the state level lockdowns.
With different parts of the country under varying sets of restrictions and consumer sentiment impacted due to the ferocity of the second wave, an evident dip in demand was witnessed by companies. Around 58 per cent of the surveyed companies reported ‘weak demand’ as the biggest challenge they are facing under the current environment.