RAI says concerted efforts required to aid retail industry recovery

Our Bureau | | Updated on: May 27, 2021
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Seeks extension of ECLGS 3.0 benefits to retailers, moratorium on principal and interest for six months, and interest subvention, among others

Retailers Association of India (RAI) on Thursday said that concerted efforts and measures are required from various agencies and authorities to aid the recovery of the retail sector which is under tremendous pressure due to the lockdown-like restrictions imposed by various states. Its recommendations include extension of benefits of ECLGS 3.0 to retail companies, offering moratorium on principal and interest for six months and interest subvention to reduce the burden of interest.

It has also urged the authorities to renew existing permits, licenses and permissions required by malls, shopping centres, retail stores and restaurants such as shops and establishment licenses, trade licenses, food licenses, signage licenses and fire NOCs for a period of one year. The retail industry body also said that compliance requirements of retailers to pay MSME suppliers in 45 days should be relaxed till March next year. It added that the, “Government of India should pay PF contribution of both employer and employee (12 per cent each) till September 2021 for all employees earning less than ₹15,000 per month.”

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Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, Retailers Association of India, said, “While it is imperative to get the last mile workers in retail vaccinated on priority, it is equally important to ensure that the entire cost of the shutdown is not borne by the business alone. We have already seen a lot of work happening within the industry by mall owners and landlords giving rebate to their retail tenants, and suppliers giving additional credit period or bringing down the cost of their merchandise.”

“We do believe that the state government, the central government, the Reserve Bank of India and the banks also have to chip in to soften the blow of the pandemic to businesses and the economy. Unless the retail businesses are able to get back on their feet and get consumption going again, it will adversely affect the economy since retail contributes 10 per cent to the nation’s GDP,” he added.

Also read: Retail sales down 49% in April against pre-pandemic levels: RAI survey

The other recommendations include waiver on property tax for malls and owners for FY2021-22. It also soughtwaiver of minimum electricity demand charges for the April-June period.

RAI said that banks should be mandated to give ad-hoc working capital loans of 30 per cent more than the current limits so that critical payments like salaries can be managed by retailers.

Published on May 27, 2021

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