The Hon’ble Minister of Labour & Employment
Government of India
Sub: Measures for survival and revival of industry during COVID19 lockdown and thereafter
The National HRD Network is the National Apex body of professionals committed to promoting the People Development movement in the country and enhancing the capability of human resource professionals to compete globally and thereby creating value for society. Towards this end, National HRD Network is committed to the development of human resources through education, training, research and experience sharing. Established over 33 years ago, NHRDN is autonomous, not-for-profit professionally managed organization, playing a catalyst role in grooming Leaders for Tomorrow. It has over 13000 members representing, Multinationals, Public & Private organizations including Government, MSME & NGOs spread across 30 chapters in India and serves as a reference point for people leadership in Indian Industry.
Meanwhile knowing the impact of COVID, we appreciate the following initiatives by Government of India to support the Industrial Sector during this crisis.
- Provision to Withdraw PF Accumulation: It is highly appreciable to note that the Central Government has already foreseen the inability of many employers who will be unable to pay salaries and therefore may resort to lay-off, lockout etc. and therefore has rightly enabled employees covered under PF to withdraw their fund equivalent to their 3 month wages or 75% of the fund available (whichever is lower). This measure also clearly indicates that it may take 3 months before normalcy is restored.
- Waiver of PF Contribution to certain Establishments: Another welcome step by the Government has been to bear the contribution towards PF of 24% for certain establishments. Currently this facility has been extended to establishments having up to 100 employees and wherein the wages of 90% of such employees are less than Rs. 15000 per month.
May we request you to kindly consider following measures to support the industries:
- Postponement of Statutory Payments: Postponement of Statutory dates of submission of returns and exemption from payment of contribution under as EPF for a period of three months from 01.04.2020.
- Auto renewal / registration: All renewal / registration due during this period may please be deemed as auto renewal or provision to submit such renewal after end of Covid-19 Period.
- Waiver of Pollution Control Board consent fee: Fee payable towards PCB for consent may for the year 2020-2021 may please be waived off.
- Waiver of Property Tax: Appropriate State Government may please be advised to exempt industries form Property tax remittance for the current financial year.
- Holiday for PF contribution for 3 months: Employers find extremely difficult to make payments without productivity / output. In this situation, saving for future of employees is a big burden on the part of employers. Hence, the EPF contribution both employer and employees may kindly be waived for another 3 months.
- Enhance the Unemployment Pension by ESI: ESI Corporation, under a scheme named ‘Atal Beemit Vyakti Kalyan Yojana’ (ABVKY), provides relief to an Insured Person who is rendered unemployed to the extent of 25% of the average per day earning during the previous four contribution periods to be paid up to maximum 90 days of unemployment once in lifetime of the IP. This scheme may kindly be modified to provide 50% relief during the COVID-19 period.
- ESI Contribution through ESI unutilized fund: Most of the employers are not in a position to make statutory payments to ESI. This amount may be adjusted against the ESI contribution by employer / employees during this period by making suitable amendment to the ESI Regulation. This will help the employer from recover major financial burden and to avoid any penal provisions of ESI.
- Permission to Defer GST remittance: Employers may please be permitted to remit the GST due for Apr 20 to Jun 20 after six months period.
- Employers may please be permitted to pay minimum wages during period of shutdown or 50% of their existing gross wages whichever is higher. While in essential services normal rules of wages associated with presence should apply.
- Appropriate amendment / direction: Appropriate amendment under labour laws or direction may please provided to ‘Appropriate Government’ for enforcement of above provisions.
- Timely reimbursement of stipend under NAPS: There are back logs of reimbursement of stipend under NAPS from the various regions. Recommendation may be sent to the Ministry of Skill development to expedite this process.
As the time is of premium, if such relaxations and benefits are granted at this crucial juncture, many industries may avoid the scenario of close down which may result in high level of unemployment.
We would also like to put forth the following proposals for the survival & revival of the Industry in the time of COVID-19 lockdown and thereafter:
- NHRDN offers to support skill development initiatives. Through our members, we would support Governments endeavours to build industry aligned skills. We may start with a pilot project in this area.
- NHRDN may support online summer internship for Management Students as in the current context and keeping importance of social distancing in mind, onsite summer projects may have certain possible restrictions.
National HRD Network
1) Secretary – Ministry of Finance, Govt of India
2) Secretary – Ministry of Industries and Commerce, Govt of India
3) Secretary – Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Govt of India
4) Secretary – Ministry of Labour, Govt of India