The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) has called for incorporating the entire supply chain of steel sector into essential services and allowing them to operate with precautionary measures.
The sector is grappling with the challenges of subdued demand, issues around logistics and rising inventory due to Covid-19 lockdown, said the lead industry body listing policy interventions required to enhance its contribution in employment generation and boost the overall economy.
FICCI recommended an extension of additional three months moratorium granted on payment of interest and repayment of loans without any penal interest and interest-free financing at nominal rates for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the sector.
It called for the provision of additional ad-hoc working capital to the extent of 25 per cent of currently sanctioned working capital limits without any collateral or margin money. The sector should be granted infrastructure status so that it can have access to finance at competitive rates from various markets and other sources.
In addition, it advocated waiving off charges like container detention and demurrage charges and ground rent by custodians till May-end to reduce the financial burden on the steel industry.
To revive demand in the sector, FICCI called for front-loading investments in the National Infrastructure Pipeline and said that construction activities should be allowed to operate with precautionary measures. Fast-tracking operationalisation of all steel-consuming industries should be accorded the highest priority, it said.