Indian Machine Tool Manufacturers’ Association (IMTMA) has been working closely with the Centre and State Governments to alleviate the difficulties faced by the machine tool industry due to the hit of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Extraordinary times perhaps pave way for new opportunities that one needs to explore from different angles and the outbreak of coronavirus and subsequent lockdown may have given an opportunity to restart afresh.
In this scenario, it is important for industries to remain connected with customers, vendors and peers through various communication channels. IMTMA has been strenuously trying to keep the industry morale and confidence level high by spearheading policy advocacy in a focused manner with the government and other stakeholders.
The association has requested the Government to fast track support for MSMEs, refunding of income tax and goods and services tax within April to improve the cash flow, waive-off interest on working capital loans for a period of 12 months, granting a 9-12 months moratorium before resuming repayment which will help reducing the operating cost of the industry.
Throwing more light on the initiatives taken up during the COVID-19 lockdown period, Indradev Babu, President, IMTMA, said, “IMTMA has sought weighted deduction from income tax on expenditures incurred to combat COVID-19.” Speaking further he said that the government must desist declaring firms with clean records as ‘non-performing assets’ if their accounts suffer financial distress post-February 2020. It has also been mooted that on all government purchases no penalties or interest be levied for any delay in deliveries. IMTMA has also vouched for clearing outstanding payments and dues on supply of goods and services to government entities, non-cancellation/deferment of purchase orders placed by government entities and accommodate increase in input costs of imports arising from rupee depreciation.
Explaining further, V Anbu, Director General & CEO, IMTMA, said’ “The Association has simultaneously been engaging its member companies as well as exhibition industry stakeholders to keep them abreast by reporting on the various government initiatives, creating a help desk for various stakeholders, publishing the best practices followed by different companies, and putting up a resources page which provides an insight into the health and economic responses to the pandemic. All this information is compiled into newsletters which are shared with member companies and exhibition industry stakeholders.”
Additionally, IMTMA has also been conducting webinars with its member companies on topics such as:
Looking beyond domestic markets and aggressively focusing on exports
Deliberating on the various relief and stimulus measures provided by the Government of India for income tax, GST, company law, banking and finance, etc
Achieving breakthrough results in machine tools and accessories manufacturing through six sigma approach
How to design, engineer and build high performance machine tools
Maintaining business continuity during the lockdown
Understanding Force Majeure clause in the context COVID-19 and beyond
Special session for MSME member companies to apprise them on the various stimulus measures offered by the government
As an advisory service, IMTMA has prepared a general guideline, ‘Protocol for resumption of activities’ which will help member companies to work out a plan to suit their individual organisations. The association has also advised members to build an element of assurance, within the plan, of strict adherence to safety norms as required for prevention of the pandemic disease, specifically social distancing, screening and sanitization.
A new normal awaits all of us as industries get back to work with social distancing and temperature screening to keep infections at bay. Organisations are still doing R&D to find a vaccine until then businesses have to take precautions to safeguard themselves and keep the show running.
It is also an opportune time for the machine tool industry to move forward with the three Rs: resolve, rebound and reimagine. The industry must explore opportunities in manufacturing equipment for sectors such as healthcare, telecommunications, aerospace, electronics, and other sunrise sectors. Machine tool industry needs to work more closely with these sectors in post-COVID era than ever before by ramping up their R&D and serving efficiently and in a customer-centric manner, which will give rich dividends.