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Holidays in 2003 to cost govt heavily

April 11, 2003 15:06 IST

As many as 99 holidays, including Sundays and non-working Saturdays, in 2003 will result in a cumulative output loss of Rs 3,000 crore (Rs 30 billion), according to All India Association of Industries.

The total loss to the exchequer for 27 declared holidays at Rs 100 crore (Rs 1 billion) for every holiday, excluding non-working Saturdays and Sundays, will be approximately Rs 2,700 crore (Rs 27 billion), AIAI president Vijay Kalantri said in a release on Friday.

Moreover, the US-led war on Iraq has severely affected Indian exports to the Gulf countries. Exporters in the country will lose a minimum of Rs 1,200 crore (Rs 12 billion) during April alone, which has the highest number of holidays this year, he added.

Even after over a decade of reforms and liberalisation, the government is reluctant to cut down on holidays particularly of  those of banks, central establishments and financial institutions, he said.

The government, while implementing the Pay Commission report had promised to reduce holidays and staff, he added.

With Finance Commission recommending wage hikes for all sections of government employees and even banks announcing a 12.5 per cent rise, cost of each holiday is becoming dearer and private and commercial establishments also bear the brunt.

The Indian banks need a margin of 2-2.5 per cent as against 0.5 per cent in foreign banks and this high cost is passed on to trade, industry and commerce.

Banks and FIs should not be closed for more that 48 hours at a stretch under any circumstances for which a law can be enforced, as is done in the US and other countries, Kalantri added.

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