Theek Nahi Hai- Save Indian Tourism

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World organisations and experts have estimated a loss of 1.2 Trillion Dollars globally and job cuts to the tune of 120 million for the year 2020. According to CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) India alone will account for job losses of upwards of 5 crore people and the organised sector (which consists of branded hotels, tour operators, travel agencies) alone will lose 1.5 lac crore this year. The tourism and allied industry in the region of North Bengal and Sikkim will face similar fate. With no vaccine in sight this predicament is only getting worse and the Tourism Industry is bearing the brunt. Even with easing restrictions, non essential travel especially for tourism seems a long way off. If and when people start travelling, business owners will have to invest heavily on specialized sanitation measures and minimum contact protocols.   

The financial implications are huge. The sector desperately needs intervention of the strongest kind from the Central Government and not just a "Thik Hey", Dear Respected and Honorable Finance Minister, "ye Thik Nahi Hey" . We are dying, a slow painful death. The small budget hotels, travel guides, travel operators , homestay and many others in North Bengal are reeling from this pandemic. The slew of announcement by the Finance Minister dare not say a word on the topic. 

We suggest the following measure to be considered by the Central Government which will definitely mean a lot more than just a naive "Thik Hai"

1. Moratorium of three months to be extended till the end of the year without accrued or accumulated interest. 

2. Long term liquidity in the form of loans without collateral and flexible repayment to meet fixed costs and restart business  

3. Direct Benefit to employees directly or indirectly associated with the industry, especially to those witnessing pay cuts or in dire cases loss of job.

4. Defer all direct liabilities like GST and advance tax, license fees, renewal fees and other fees and taxes in the Tourism Industry

5. When lockdown ends and travel resumes, partially or totally, new tax incentives like tax exemptions on amount spent on domestic travel to be introduced to promote tourism.