Business Bureau :
The Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman recently announced the relief package to boost Indian economy in its fight against COVID-19 for travel and tourism stakeholders. Regarding this, Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) said, “We had expected that the Government undertakes our suggestions for more direct relief for our member stakeholders, so as to support and encourage all stakeholders, rather than limiting to 904 travel and tourism stakeholder (TTS) registered with Ministry of Tourism (MoT).” Jyoti Mayal, President of TAAI said, “We expect much more than what was announced. However, we believe the relief has focused more on domestic and inbound travel and only those registered with MoT it is pertinent to note that with over 3,000 members of TAAI alone, only those registered with MoT will benefit.
Our members have applied for MoT recognition and due to the pandemic over 200 have still not been approved. Most of the members engaged in domestic tourism are registered with State tourism’s with specific concentration to their regions. The outreach of this relief is minuscule.” Adding to that, Jay Bhatia, Vice-President said, “Appreciating that finally the Government recognised our trade activities, but the impact of this relief will not be overall. Less than 10 per cent of the actual stakeholders only will benefit as per the Finance Ministers package”. “To widen the scope of this relief, the Finance Minister must include those registered under MSME.
We urge the Government that all TTS registered under GST and who have already been contributing to the exchequer over the years should be recipients of the relief package,” he added. “In our communication in May, we had appealed to the Government to ensure employee benefits like PF, gratuity, professional tax, ESIC etc., are synchronised, as to do business effectively and smoothly which will motivate our members to generate more revenue for our country,” he said. “Although the Finance Minister has granted free one month tourist visa till March 31, 2022 or 5 lakh visitors, this will only be feasible and a win-win situation if GST is waived for international tourist and Interstate GST credit be permitted for stakeholders, that too when flights commence. We welcome international tourists to India.We also await more clarity and acceptance of our proposal from the Finance Ministry and Ministry of Tourism,” informs Rajesh Agrawal, Chairman of TAAI Vidarbha Chapter.