Economy

Retailers body says MHA's latest order brings a ray of hope on the issue of weekend lockdowns

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on August 31, 2020

The retail industry is banking on the upcoming festival season for recovery of the business

Retailers Association of India (RAI) on Monday said that the recent guidelines issued by the Home Affairs Ministry on the issue of the weekend and local lockdowns would help remove roadblocks at the local level and will bring some relief for the retail industry.

The retailers’ industry body had earlier raised concerns about the adverse impact of weekend curfews and partial lockdowns being imposed by various state governments.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in its Unlock 4.0 guidelines has said that the ‘State/ UT Governments shall not impose any local lockdown (State/ District/ sub-division/City/ village level), outside the containment zones, without prior consultation with the Central Government’.

In a statement, Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, Retailers Association of India (RAI), said that RAI had shared its concerns about weekend lockdowns and partial lockdowns imposed by state governments with DPIIT and MHA.

“We appreciate the efforts of MHA and DPIIT for taking steps to get the economy going. Livelihood is important, and we believe that any shutdowns should be very carefully calibrated to ensure a balance between lives and livelihood. A central focus as compared to just local decisions is the need of the hour," he added.

The industry body said that nearly 60 per cent -70 per cent of the retail industry's costs are fixed. Of these, rents and salaries to employees make up a large part. "In times like these, when the demand is inelastic, it is crucial to keep stores open on all days and for extended hours. Only this will help retailers crawl back from the financial distress they have been facing and encourage social distancing," RAI added in a statement.

The retail industry is banking on the upcoming festival season for recovery of the business and said that a boost to the retail sector would, in turn, benefit the entire value chain, which involves manufacturing, entertainment, right down to artisans and other micro-enterprises.

"Removing roadblocks at the local level will not only help retailers to plan better for the season, but will also help them make decisions on hiring. It will also benefit taxes collected by the State Governments like GST, among others which is important to help revive the economy. Most importantly, it will be in the interest of consumers as it will bring convenience to them," RAI added in its statement.

Published on August 31, 2020

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