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Commuting hurdles faced by employees and problems in transporting goods are hampering the restart of businesses despite measures to ease the nationwide lockdown, a survey by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) found.

In the survey, 36% of the respondents said that the industry is facing issues with daily movement of employees, while another 31% mentioned that in addition to the entire industry, companies which they represented also faced these problems.

Around 39% had to face delays and disruption in moving finished goods or raw material, while 23% stated that materials were not available at all. Only 15% businesses surveyed said the movement of goods was timely.

“The survey responses indicate the need to facilitate daily commute of employees without any hurdles on a priority basis. Among various measures, the government should specify the guidelines for individual vehicles (4-wheeler, 2-wheeler and bicycle) for commuting between the residence and factory," CII said.

Among the respondents, 39% said they could be booked under criminal charges if any covid-19 positive case was found in their premises; however, 27% felt that there was no such possibility.

India’s economy is expected to slow significantly in the current financial year due to the negative impact of the pandemic on manufacturing and service industries. Ratings agency Crisil, on 3 April, had announced a downward revision of Indian’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth to 3.5% for 2020-21.

“The findings indicate the business sentiments and priorities for policymakers to create a conducive business climate for industries, as companies battle the unprecedented disruptions to daily operations and finance activities brought on by the coronavirus," the survey noted. “These measures are indeed a positive step towards keeping business operations going on a relatively stable footing and minimising contraction of economic activity."

The lobby group in a report released last Thursday warned that the Indian economy could contract up to 0.9% in FY21 in the worst-case scenario if the coronavirus pandemic prolongs and the government is unable to restore economic activity.

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