‘On ventilator mode’: 20 per cent of traders may shut shop permanently, warns CAIT

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on May 05, 2020

File photo   -  B. Jothi Ramalingam

The government has offered traders absolutely nothing, says CAIT’s Praveen Khandelwal

The Confederation of All India Traders ( CAIT), on Tuesday, said that nearly 20 per cent of the Indian retailers may have to wind up their businesses in the next few months due to the disruptions caused by the nationwide lockdown put in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

It has pegged the revenue loss of ₹5.5 lakh crore for Indian retailers in the lockdown period from March 25-April 30, and has sought urgent intervention of the government to provide a stimulus package for the retail sector.

In a statement, the traders body said, “Covid-19 has caused a huge irreparable dent in Indian retail trade, which will have a devastating effect on the whole country. Indian retailers do a daily business of around ₹15,000 crore and the country is in a lockdown for over 40 days now, that means there is a massive loss of over ₹5.50 lakh crore of business which is done by 7 crore traders of India.”

“In all likelihood out of these 7 crore traders around 1.5 crore traders will have to permanently down the shutters in a few months, and a further 75 lakh traders who are dependent on these 1.5 crore traders will fold up in the medium term,” CAIT said.

Ambiguity hurts

The traders body said that Home Ministry notifications have not helped the situation on the ground as there is “no synchronisation” between the Centre and States in implementing the guidelines.

The ambiguity in implementation of the Central government guidelines by the State and local authorities have further added to the woes of Indian retailers due to such ambiguity in guidelines, it added. “The Indian retail sector is literally on ventilator mode and without the immediate intervention of the government which is by and large responsible for this chaos, the sector will suffer unprecedented damage. The economic pandemonium will be even bigger than the Corona pandemic,” CAIT added.

‘One-way traffic’

Expressing deep disappointment with the Central and various State governments for ignoring the plight of the trader, CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said at least 2.5 crore traders in India are micro and small in nature who do not have deep pockets to sustain this severe economic catastrophe.

“It is quite appalling that the governments — both Centre and State — have not handhold the non-corporate sector which contributes more than 40 per cent to India’s GDP and accounts for almost one-third of the total workforce of the nation. Instead the government has given diktats that all businesses will have to pay their salaries, the banks will continue to charge interest and the landlords will continue to ask for rentals. This is a complete one-way traffic where the government only expects from traders but has offered absolutely nothing at all till date,” he added.

Published on May 05, 2020

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