FM Releases Rs 1.7 Lakh Crore Aid To Fight COVID-19; No Announcements For Auto Industry
We’re expecting an extension on sale of BS4 vehicles post March 31
(Pictured: Rajan Wadhera, President, SIAM)
With the threat of coronavirus looming large over our country, the Finance Minister of India, Nirmala Sitharaman, has announced a Rs 1.7 lakh crore relief fund. This fund is meant to aid the soldiers (healthcare personnel) on the frontline fighting this virus and the ones that are tip-toeing on the side of vulnerability in these testing times.
The lockdown has been much harsher on the economically weaker sections such as farmers, daily wage labourers and the like. This financial assistance is bound to come as a pillar of strength in the current scenario. However, industrial sectors, specifically automotive, have been omitted from any of these relief funds.
Even Rajan Wadhera, President, SIAM (Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers), stated “The announcement of Financial Action Plan of Rs. 1.7 lakh crore by Hon’ble Finance Minister to support our medical warriors, daily wage earners, farmers, construction workers, self-help groups, women, etc. will certainly entrust the faith of the vulnerable section of our society on the Government and support them in dealing with the immediate concerns caused by COVID 19. We hope the Government will also soon announce measures to support the automotive industry.”
FADA (Federation of Automobile Dealers Association) has also filed pleas with the authorities to extend the sales of the unsold BS4 stock of vehicles, which number in lakhs. Walk-in sales had fallen by about 70 per cent a week back and with the complete lockdown in effect, only basic subsistence supporting stores are allowed to remain open.
While the dealers and carmakers usually have enough finances to deal with the losses, it’s dealership staff and mechanics who will bear the brunt of the stretched financials in the form of deferred pay cheques or even layoffs.
India has ordered the world’s biggest lockdown for a population of 1.3 billion in an effort to control the deadly coronavirus. That said, this move has brought about collateral damage as well because it has struck hard on the employment sources of many that might not even be covered by the conventional profile of the needy recognized by the government. It’s only natural to expect a remedial step from the government.