Ahead of the upcoming Budget, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on Sunday recommended introduction of an additional 1% corporate social responsibility (CSR) levy for a 12-month period to be used for providing ‘precautionary’ shots of COVID-19 vaccine.
The industry body also urged the State governments to lift restrictions on economic activity. It reasoned that the occupancy rate of hospital beds due to the Omicron variant of coronavirus was well within the manageable level.
The CII, in a statement, said it had written to the Chief Ministers to consider curbs at micro-containment zones only when hospitalisation rates crossed 75%.
“Hospitalisation rates in the present wave stand at manageable levels and therefore, industry feels that COVID-related restrictions can be removed to enable the robust recovery process to continue,” T.V. Narendran, president, CII, said.
Mr. Narendran added that the CII had suggested to the government that an additional 1%, apart from the mandated 2%, be added to the CSR requirements in the Budget for a specified period of 12 months so that boosters can be made available to all age-groups.
“In fact, our recommendation has been that if companies spend on vaccines for their employees, their families and members of the community, then that expense can be set off against this additional CSR spend. Besides the government-provided boosters, the market mechanism should also be made to work for people who can afford to pay for their booster shots,” he added.