Consider basic demands for survival: TAAI to govt

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The Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) has said it was in a “state of shock” as no economic package has been announced for them and asked the government to consider its requests for survival, failing which it will adopt the Gandhian way of protest.

While Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced a package of Rs 20 lakh crore, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman “has neglected us and no relief to us is seen”, the TAAI said in its letter to the Central government on Sunday.

“We are not only in despair but also in a state of shock. The trade was so confident that under the leadership of Modi ji, we would be nurtured and protected,” the TAAI noted.

Sitharaman has not announced any specific relief package for the hospitality or the tourism sector.

The hospitality and tourism sector has come to a complete halt since March 25, when the government imposed a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus.

“The feeling (is) that the government has abandoned our sector which is one of the largest revenue earners in the country, be it Income Tax, GST, Foreign Exchange etc,” the TAAI said in its letter marked to Sitharaman, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, Tourism Minister Prahlad Singh Patel, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant.

The TAAI, which has more than 2,500 travel companies as its members, said: “We along with FAITH (Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality) have had various dialogues especially with MOT (Ministry of Tourism)/MOC (Ministry of Commerce)/MoCA (Ministry of Civil Aviation)/ Niti Aayog.”

“Your teams have appreciated our suggestions. But what we get from the package of Rs 20 lakh crore is nothing,” it added.

The TAAI has requested the government to give 33.33 per cent salaries for at least six months, waive the GST for the next 12 months, give income tax holiday for 2020-21, ensure that airlines refund passengers’ money and not issue a credit voucher for flights cancelled due to the lockdown, and various other steps.

“We are hardworking and do not shy away from striving.We are not looking for charity. Our expectation from the government is to support us from our past contributions made in taxes, for the interim and we assure to fill your coffers once we regain our positions back, which we shall very soon!” the TAAI said.

Coronavirus has infected more than 96,000 people and killed 3,000 plus people in India till now. The government on Sunday extended the lockdown till May 31.

“With the Government led by Shri Modi ji, we saw a ray of hope and are still confident that your respective ministries shall immediately consider our basic requests of survival, else we shall have no option but to take steps like that of Mahatma Gandhi ji, which shall be detrimental to your government,” the TAAI stated.

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