Alarmed at the government’s decision to impose a ten-day mandatory quarantine on British nationals, handicraft exporters have asked the Centre to exempt British business visa holders from the provision as it could hit the foreign buyers fair scheduled this month and hurt export prospects.

The Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH) has written to both the Prime Minister and the Home Minister not to impose the move as October marked the beginning of normalisation of business activities after 18 months of the pandemic, according to an official.

Tit-for-tat move

On Friday, the Centre expressed its intention to impose a ten-day mandatory quarantine and multiple Covid-19 testing requirements for all British nationals arriving in India from October 4 irrespective of their vaccination status, in response to similar restrictions being applied on Indians arriving in Britain.

The quarantine decision will affect the export council’s initiative of providing a physical marketing platform to handicrafts exporters paving way for return of the economy to a high-growth track and creating gainful jobs for artisans, EPCH Chairman Rajkumar Malhotra pointed out to the government.

“Overseas volume buyers from across the globe are likely to visit the International Handicrafts and Gifts Fair (IHGF), including buyers from Britain. Humble request that British nationals who are coming to India on business visa be exempted from 10 days mandatory quarantine,” EPCH tweeted on Saturday tagging the PMO.

Covid protocol

EPCH officials pointed out that the fair was being organised with all necessary Covid safety protocols and SOPs issued by the WHO and the government.

The British government, on Friday, said the UK was continuing to work on expanding the policy (of recognising vaccine certification) to countries and territories across the globe in a phased approach.

“We are continuing to engage with the government of India on technical cooperation to expand UK recognition of vaccine certification to people vaccinated by a relevant public health body in India,” a British High Commission spokesperson said.