Budget 2022 Fails To Lift Mood Of Restaurant And Hospitality Sector
“We're yet again left to fend for ourselves,” said Kabir Suri, president of National Restaurant Association of India.
The hospitality industry sees the extension in credit guarantee scheme as being inadequate to help the sector worst affected by the pandemic over the past two years.
“We're yet again left to fend for ourselves,” said Kabir Suri, president of National Restaurant Association of India. The industry was looking at some immediate liquidity support, restoration of input tax credit on GST, ease of doing business from over-regulation and excessive licensing, a fair and equitable e-commerce policy for the survival and revival of the ailing sector, he said.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman extended the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme till March 2023. And she expanded the cover by Rs 50,000 crore earmarked exclusively for hospitality and related sectors. According to NRAI's estimates, the Indian food services industry alone saw closure of over 25% of businesses, causing nearly 24 lakh job losses.
“We need some immediate liquidity support with lower collateral, lower interest and adequate moratorium for survival,” said Suri, also the co-founder and director of Azure Hospitality.
Nakul Anand, chairman of the Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism and Hospitality, said while the extension of credit lines and additional corpus will provide relief, there was need for more direct intervention.
The association, he said, was hoping for direct wage support, removal of tax collected on services on outbound travel, export status for tourism earnings and e-visa fees waiver to support inbound revival.
Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, vice-president, Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations said the budget has been “gravely disappointing”. The extension of the credit guarantee scheme to the crawling hospitality sector and provisioning an outlay of Rs 2 lakh crore through Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises are the only relief measures provided as part of the Union Budget 2022-23, he said.
“However, this is just a drop in the ocean for a sector that has been severely battered," he said. "Given the massive damages that decimated the entire sector's ecosystem, these measures are not adequate to bridge the losses and offer impetus to the hospitality and tourism industry."
Ritesh Agarwal, OYO founder and group chief executive officer, called the budget “progressive and growth-oriented”. "Hospitality services by the small and medium sector are yet to bounce back, and the finance minister's decision to extend the ECLGS service up to March 2023 and expanding the cover is a welcome move," he said in a statement.
EaseMyTrip Co-Founder Rikant Pittie said introduction of e-passports with embedded chips will provide a big boost to travel and add a level of convenience for international travellers.