Indian recyclers association MRAI has urged the government to include the recycling industry under essential services to help the sector survive the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.
Material Recycling Association of India (MRAI) is a national body voicing the concerns of the recyclers in India. MRAI appealed to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday putting forward the challenges faced by recyclers amid the COVID-19 lockdown.
Sanjay Mehta, President of MRAI urged that the recycling industry should be classified under essential services and be allowed to work 12 hours shifts with necessary precautions for controlling the spread of the virus. He said that products made through the recycling route are used in critical industries such as defence, pharma, engineering, auto components and white goods. In India, out of the total crude steel production, more than 55pc is produced with recyclable material. More than 30pc of aluminium production is through recycling, while 20pc of copper production is from recycled material. In the case of lead, 85pc production is through scrap and in case of zinc 10pc is through recycled material.
Around 70-80pc of workers engaged in the recycling sector have returned to their hometowns after the government announced a 21-day national lockdown on March 25. In a letter written to PMO, MRAI demanded that the government should arrange free transport to get these workers back from their hometowns.
Stating that recyclers are suffering financial crisis due to the lockdown, MRAI urged the government to provide 50pc contribution to employee provident fund for a period of 3-6 months. MRAI believes that this would help small and medium business owners to reduce their financial burden and avoid layoffs and pay cuts.
MRAI also called for speedy implementation of Niti Aayog’s National Materials Recycling Policy that will help the recycling industry transform into an organised sector.