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New Delhi: Union Finance ad Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addresses a press conference in New Delhi, on March 26, 2020. (Photo: IANS) by .
New Delhi: Union Finance ad Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addresses a press conference in New Delhi, on March 26, 2020. (Photo: IANS)

“Given the extent of the damage to the economy from the disruption to business, the GDP growth in FY21 will likely be the lowest in many decades,” highlighted CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee.

Industry body CII has urged the Centre for urgent fiscal interventions to mitigate the economic costs of the lockdown, as the country’s GDP is likely to range between (-) 0.9 per cent to 1.5 per cent in FY21.

“Given the extent of the damage to the economy from the disruption to business, the GDP growth in FY21 will likely be the lowest in many decades,” highlighted CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee.

At present, the lockdown which has been deemed necessary to curb the spread of Covid-19, has dealt a heavy blow to commerce, leading to a temporary closure of shopping malls, grounding of aircraft, shutting down of factories and deserted market places.

At the expiry of the second phase of lockdown on May 3, the control period would have lasted for 40 days.

“Given the situation, government intervention becomes critical not only to sustain the economy but also to prevent any humanitarian crisis,” Banerjee said.

The industry body, in a paper titled ‘A plan for economic recovery’, has called on the Centre for urgent fiscal interventions which should include cash transfers amounting to Rs 2 lakh crore to “JAM account holders “, in addition to the Rs 1.7 lakh stimulus already announced.

New Delhi: Union MoS Culture and Tourism Prahlad Singh Patel meets Union Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, to review the economic impact of ‘COVID-19’ on Tourism Sector, in New Delhi on March 20, 2020. (Photo: IANS/PIB) by .
Union MoS Culture and Tourism Prahlad Singh Patel meets Union Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in New Delhi. (Photo: IANS/PIB)

“CII has also suggested additional working capital limits to be provided by banks, equivalent to April-June wage bill of the borrowers, backed by a Government guarantee, at 4-5% interest.”

“In addition, the CII paper has suggested the creation of a fund or SPV with a corpus of Rs 1.5 lakh crore which will subscribe to NCDs/Bonds of corporates rated A and above. The fund can be seeded by the Government contributing a corpus of Rs 10,000-20,000 crore, with further investments from banks and financial institutions such as LIC, PFC, EPF, NIIF, IIFCL et al. This will limit Government exposure while providing adequate liquidity to industry.”

In terms of the MSMEs, the CII suggested a credit protection scheme whereby 75-80 per cent of the loan should be guaranteed by RBI.

“Without an increase in government spending in the near-term to drive an economic recovery, government revenue will dwindle, and high deficits will continue to be a problem in future,” Banerjee said.

SEBI Relax Rules

To relax the conditions for raising funds from the securities market amidst the financial disturbance caused due to the Covid-19 pandemic, regulator SEBI has decided to ease buy-back regulations.

In financial parlance, a buy-back refers to repurchase of the company’s stocks from the existing shareholders. This process is either undertaken through the open market or the tender offer route.

The SEBI has decided to ease norms governing buy-back. At present, these regulations restrict companies from raising further capital for a period of one year from the expiry of buy-back period, except in discharge of their subsisting obligations.

Hyderabad: Disinfectants being sprayed across different areas of Hyderabad on Day 4 of the lockdown imposed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, on March 28, 2020. (Photo IANS) by .
Disinfectants being sprayed across different areas of Hyderabad during the lockdown imposed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo IANS)

“It has been represented that the said period of one year may be reduced to six months, which would be in line with section 68(8) of the Companies Act, 2013,” the regulator said in a circular.

“To enable relatively quicker access to capital, it has been decided to temporarily relax the period of restriction… of the buy-back regulations. This relaxation will be applicable till December 31, 2020.”

The relaxation comes into force with immediate effect, it said.

A buy-back generally improves return on equity and earnings per share by reducing the equity base.

Furthermore, it gives an option to the shareholders to get cash in lieu of equity shares or to increase their percentage shareholding in the company following the offer, without additional investment.

Also Read – UK starts human trials for coronavirus vaccine

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