On opening day of Parliament, the tourism ministry referenced the NCAER report in response to a question raised by Lok Sabha MPs Ramesh Kaushik and Raju Bista in which it said 14.5 million jobs were lost during the first quarter, followed by 5.2 million jobs during the second quarter and another 1.8 million jobs during the third quarter of 20-21, after the lockdown was imposed.
Coronavirus: Live updates
The NCAER report, a draft of which has been approved by the tourism ministry, has not been published yet. The sponsored study resulted in an analytical report that used mathematical models to assess the loss to economy in terms of tourism expenditure, projects that total recovery may only happen in 3-4 years, assesses the loss to household incomes, and contains recommendations for the revival of the tourism sector.
The ministry engaged NCAER in January, 2021 to conduct a study on ‘India and the Coronavirus Pandemic: Economic Losses for Households Engaged in Tourism and Policies for Recovery’.
It also constituted a Task Force headed by the tourism minister to “meet the challenge posed by the outbreak of COVID 19 and make appropriate recommendations for the revival of the tourism and hospitality sector in the country”. However, no formal study was conducted to assess the State/UT-wise impact of Covid-19 on the tourism industry.
It also said Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEE) during the months between January and December 2020 fell by 76.3% in comparison to corresponding period in 2019.
India’s travel and tourism sector, which accounts for nearly 2.5% of the GDP, has made repeated appeals to the government seeking succour for travel and tourism businesses tottering on the brink of collapse due to the coronavirus pandemic.
From hotels to travel and tour operators and tour guides, representative bodies from the tourism sector have given multiple petitions to the government highlighting the deep financial stress caused by the pandemic on the travel and hospitality sector during 2020-21.
With the resultant impact on viability of tourism enterprises and jobs, FAITH, the federation of travel and hospitality businesses in the country, sought a waiver of statutory obligations and added that states should offer a 100% waiver, without penalties, to travel and hospitality businesses on all fixed electricity and utility charges, excise duties, property taxes, interstate tourist transport taxes, SGST waiver, and all local taxes.
The industry body also sought an automatic renewal of all licenses, permits, permissions due to expire in FY 2021-22 without any financial charges or penalties and an industry status for tourism travel and hospitality, and a refund of unutilised GST credit lying with them for the travel sector’s liquidity needs.
The sector’s response to the finance minister’s “bailout package” also failed to provide much cheer because businesses have said they need cash inflows to keep businesses afloat rather than monetary policy interventions.