Include exports sector in list of essential services, urges FIEO President

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The exports sector should be covered in the list of essential services so that the entire chain to execute the exports is allowed to function (with the necessaryCovid protocols) during lockdowns, said Mr S. K. Saraf, President, Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), in a letter to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra. The exporting units, which employ millions of workers, have strict timelines to execute the orders, failing which they could attract heavy penalties including shifting of the orders to other competing countries, he pointed out, as per a release.

While the FIEO President appreciated allowing manufacturing units to operate during the lockdown, he highlighted that such units are supported by their offices which not only manage their inventories but also ensure timely supply of raw materials, filing of tax returns, filing of e-way bills for transportation of goods, managing outward supplies, etc. If such offices are not allowed to function, it would not be possible to keep manufacturing going. He, therefore, requested the Chief Minister to allow private offices to function with 25 per cent of the sanctioned strength so that the necessary support to run the manufacturing could be provided for seamless and smooth functioning of the factories.

A related issue, he said, is the availability of support services like Custom House Agents, freight forwarders, offices of shipping lines, etc. to facilitate movement of goods, which is covered in the list of exempted services. However, clear instruction to cover such kinds of services needs to be issued to avoid subjective interpretation at the field level, which may lead to harassment of the employees working for such support services, he emphasised.

He requested the Chief Minister to look into these issues sympathetically and expeditiously so that the export manufacturing sector continues to support Maharashtras exports as well as its economy. Mr Saraf expressed confidence that increasing vaccination and controlled local lockdowns will help in bringing the states economy and livelihood back on track, the release added.