New Delhi, April 6 (IANS) The Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC) of India has recommended to the Centre that manufacturing units of engineering goods should be first to reopen post the lockdown period.

In its policy proposal to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, council Chairman Ravi Sehgal said: “One of the primary factors for this is that after a few weeks of closure – the manufacturing plants do take 5 to 10 days of maintenance, gearing up and reaching the production stage. Hence they need a head start ahead of other forms of business.”

“We agree that all measures of safe distancing and sanitation must be adhered to strictly by the manufacturing units and their offices.”

In its proposal that has been called by the government to boost exports, the EEPC further recommended that services related to manufacturing and exports must accordingly be classified as “Priority” .

“Whereas food, health and security remain the priority, exports must be given the immediate next opportunity. April to July is the peak time for global trade and whereas domestic markets do have certain protections, the world markets are open for domination by other countries – India cannot lose out on that,” it said.

“March month’s shipments have all been disrupted – the overseas buyers can be convinced and held backfor a month or so but not anymore. Further in case India is out of production for the world market this month – it will be out of the overseas buyers’ plans for the whole of 2020.”

Furthermore, the council said that even under the exports category, “engineering” plays a dominant role and hence the “Engineering Exports must be given the topmost priority”.

“The reason for this is that worldwide due to the slowdown caused by COVID-19 attack – the food, fashion and luxury goods demand will be slow but engineering goods’ demand will prevail as infrastructure and industry restarting, maintenance work overseas will create a huge requirement and India certainly cannot miss out on that,” the proposal said.

“Engineering goods exports constitute around 25 percent of merchandise exports and can help stabilise the foreign exchange earnings for the Country. Offices may be kept open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Janata Curfew continuing during night hours.”

–IANS

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