The trade association Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) has suggested that in addition to the mandatory 2 percent corporate social responsibility (CSR) levy, an additional 1 percent will be charged in the upcoming union budget to encourage companies to spend money on the providing Covid vaccine booster shots.
“The government should encourage the industry to use CSR funding to deliver precautionary shots to the community. Furthermore, the industry is willing to contribute an additional 1 percent below CSR standards to the national vaccination mission, in addition to the mandatory 2 percent, and this can only be part of the budget for a period of 12 months,” said CII president TV Narendran.
It also called on state governments to lift pandemic-induced restrictions on economic activity, arguing that hospital bed occupancy rates due to the Omicron variant of Covid are well within manageable levels.
The chamber said it expected the budget to focus on measures to strengthen the economic recovery.
In line with the Prime Minister’s guidance to state governments to impose restrictions at the local level where necessary, CII has written to chief ministers of state to consider curbs in micro containment zones only when the hospitalization rate exceeds 75 percent, the government shared. Mr Narendran.
With a lower rate of hospitalizations in the Omicron variant, it is possible to maintain normal economic activities and protect lives and livelihoods, he added.
The CII chairman stressed that the investments under the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) and the Gati Shakti program should be accelerated and the budget is expected to provide for this.
The industry association also requested accelerated imports of all internationally approved mRNA and protein-based vaccines at a price to be determined by the government. This would open up booster shots for all walks of life. With demand recovering, the economy is expected to reach a growth rate of 9.2 percent over 2021-22, it added.