Please consider increasing minimum wage pay in lieu of the Covid-19 crisis
The Covid-19 crisis has posed many challenges the past year… from medical professionals working overtime, education taking a back seat and companies losing a lot of business.
Whilst things are slowly getting back to normal, with the aid of the government… there are still some industries that are hanging by a thread.
I’m talking about the MSME companies in the publishing industry. Even before the Covid-19 crisis, these sectors were already in troubled waters and now they seem to have sunken more.
The complete collapse of economic activities have pushed many small businesses into debt, including the Indian Publishing Industry of which more than 99% happens to be of MSME level only.
As many will agree, the halt in business activity has straight away impacted publishing book businesses adversely, which was already in dire straits. I agree with the stringent measures taken by the government that every employee must be paid during the lockdown period… but with very minimum to zero business transactions happening, it’s very difficult to continue paying staff.
Some of these business issues that are extremely specific to this year
- A large amount of book sales for the library takes place during a certain period. Any disruption in that cycle leads to significant sales shortfall.
- Book exports have come to a complete halt, this is very little hope of recovery in the coming years.
Firstly, I request that at least 50% of the salaries be reimbursed after the same has been paid to the employees. This practice shall give some relief to the industry, the minimum rate applicable is Rs 14,842 per month.
Secondly, the publishing book industry is granted some loans at a reduced rate… this will help them have a working capital in hand. As far as interest rate is concerned, the Govt. may consider giving a 3% interest on these loans.
Third, schools may be urged to support the indigenous publishing industry by preferably opting for Indian publishers; same with libraries.
Fourth, banks should be advised to reduce their handling charges against export documentation and inward remittance specially for small value invoices/ shipments. RBI, DGFT and other relevant offices are advised to reduce documentation work.
With the introduction of these small measures, which will not cost the Government beyond Rs.100 crore, we are sure the book publishing industry will be able to survive and come out of the effect of this pandemic.