FIEO urges Maharashtra government to cover exports sector in the list of ‘essential services’

In a letter to Chief Minister of Maharashtra, S K Saraf, President, FIEO has appreciated the proactive decision taken to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the State. He says, “The exporting units employ millions of workers units with strict timelines to execute the orders else the same may attract heavy penalties including shifting of such orders to other competing countries. It is, therefore, necessary that 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 during such lockdowns. Needless to mention that necessary Covid protocol would be maintained by these units.”
While the President, FIEO appreciates the action to allow manufacturing units to operate during the lockdown, it is important to observe that the manufacturing units are supported by their offices which not only manage their inventories but also ensure timeline supply of raw-material, filing of tax return, filing of e-way bills for transportation of goods, managing of outward supplies, etc. If such offices are not allowed to function, it would not be possible to keep manufacturing going. Since the exports play a pivotal role in a country’s economy and more so in case of Maharashtra, which is number one state in terms of exports based ranking, the President has therefore requested the Chief Minister to allow private offices to be opened with 25% of the sanctioned strength so that necessary support, to run the manufacturing, can be provided for seamless and smooth functioning of factories.
A related issue is the availability of support services like custom house agents, freight forwarders, offices of shipping lines etc. to provide movement of transportation of goods, which is covered in the list of exempted services. However, a clear instruction to cover such kinds of services needs to be issued so as to avoid subjective interpretation at the field level which may lead to the harassment of the employees working for such support services.
The President has sincerely requested the Chief Minister to look into the issue sympathetically and expeditiously so that the export manufacturing sector continues to provide support to Maharashtra exports as well as its economy.