In her fifth and last tranche of relief and reform package, the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman concluded her speech with no mention of hospitality and tourism. The sector that contributes close to 10 per cent to the country’s GDP was once again completely excluded from any kind of relief.
Stakeholders have been continuously informing and updating the Government about the distress the industry has been in since the lockdown came into effect. With not even the slightest reassurance, let alone any stimulus or relief package, from the Government, the industry is decidedly looking at a major catastrophe including massive job loss, bankrupt enterprises and definite closure of at least 70 per cent of hospitality establishments across the country.
Hospitality industry’s apex Association – Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) has expressed deep disappointment and utter shock with the Government’s callous attitude towards the sector. It has called for the Government to immediately action a stimulus package for hospitality for avoiding unfathomable consequences of failing the industry.
“The entire industry is confused, hysterical and in disbelief after listening to the FM’s speech. There was no mention of hospitality and tourism at all. An industry that the Hon. PM has mentioned as being one of the five pillars of economic growth and country’s pride was once again completely omitted from any kind of relief. The hospitality and tourism industry generates close to Rs.17 lakh crores contributing roughly 10 per cent of India’s GDP and supports over 43 million jobs translating to almost 9 per cent of its total employment. Despite this knowledge the Government has chosen to completely ignore us, yet again,” said Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, Vice President, FHRAI and President, Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI).
In the fight against the pandemic, restaurants volunteered for feeding the needy by preparing and distributing lakhs of meals for workers, colonies, doctors, health workers, and essential services staff, among others every day and hotels across the country pledged thousands of rooms to aid the Government in its efforts to quarantine people house doctors, healthcare workers and Government staff which is on-going even as of today.