Industry body Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) has suggested that over and above the mandatory 2 per cent corporate social responsibility (CSR) levy, an additional 1 per cent should also be charged in the forthcoming union budget in order to encourage companies to spend on providing Covid vaccine booster shots.
“Government should encourage industry to deploy CSR funding towards providing precautionary shots to the community. Further, industry is ready to contribute an additional 1 per cent under the CSR norms to the national vaccination mission, apart from the mandated 2 per cent, and this can be part of the budget for a period of 12 months only,” CII president T V Narendran said.
It also called upon state governments to lift the pandemic-induced restrictions on economic activity, arguing that the occupancy rate of hospital beds due to the Omicron variant of Covid is well within the manageable level.
The chamber said it expects the budget to focus on measures for strengthening economic recovery.
In line with the prime minister’s guidance to state governments to undertake restrictions where required at a localised level, CII has written to state chief ministers to consider curbs at micro containment zones only when hospitalisation rates are over 75 per cent, Mr Narendran shared.
With a lower level of hospitalisations seen in the Omicron variant, it is possible to maintain normal economic activities and protect lives and livelihoods, he added.
The CII president emphasised that the investments under National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) and Gati Shakti programme must be fast-tracked and it is expected that the budget would provide for this.
The industry body also requested for fast-tracking of imports of all international approved mRNA and protein based vaccines at a price to be determined by the government. This would open up booster shots to all sections of society. With bounce back in demand, the economy is expected to achieve 9.2 per cent growth rate over 2021-22, it added.