Boxed in: Traditional sweets and namkeen makers seek relief measures

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on March 25, 2020

Lockdown on account of Covid-19 has hit production, sales; FSNM writes to PM

The Federation of Sweets and Namkeen Manufacturers (FSNM), which represents traditional sweets and namkeen players in the country, has urged the government to give them special exemptions, stating that the Covid-19 outbreak has put them in a “vulnerable position.”

"We provide direct employment to more than 25 lakh people and indirect employment to millions of workers across the nation. In lieu of the current global crisis of Covid-19, along with other businesses, mithai and namkeen makers have also completely shut down their production units, outlets and shops. Owing to the total lockdown, our production level has nosedived and so have our sales. It’s beyond our capacity to bear such losses as we need to provide wages and salaries with other benefits to the workers and staff employed in our sector,” the industry body stated in a letter to the Prime Minister and other ministries.

Tax relief, deadline extension

FSNM has asked for a slew of relief measures from the government, which includes reduction in GST at least for smaller packs, moratorium for upcoming statutory dues, extension for utility bill payments, freezing rental dues and has asked for measures to reduce electricity and local tax burden, among others. It has also asked for extension in date of implementation of FSSAI’s certain new mandatory compliance norms, such as training of food safety supervisors.

The industry body said that providing these exemptions can help the industry regain lost ground, restart factories and shops once the lockdown is lifted. “Due to the shutdown, our businesses are at a standstill and we are not left with much cash in hand and if the trend continues for a few more weeks it will be very difficult for us to maintain the workforce and provide them salaries on a regular basis,” the letter added.

Firoz H Naqvi, Director, FSNM, said, “From today we have begun encouraging our members who have centralised kitchens to deliver packed meals to families in their neighbourhoods, as part of the community service efforts as the country grapples with this lockdown.”

Published on March 25, 2020

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