At a National Conference of Trade leaders from across the Country held today at New Delhi, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) in its endeavour to accelerate the digitalisation of traders in the Country and the acceptance of digital payments linking them with e commerce portals by creating their e commerce showrooms and empowering them with digital technology in furtherance of Digital India initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the CAIT today launched a nationwide campaign to digitalise 7 crore traders across the Country and has partnered with HDFC Bank, Mastercard, Common Service Centres (CSCs) of Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (Meity) and Global Linkers. This first-of-its kind grassroots initiative named as ” Digi Vyapari-Safal Vyapari “will transform the rural and urban economy and benefit small merchants and traders even in the remotest of places across the Country. The conference was attended by trade leaders of 29 States.
Speaking about the campaign CAIT National President B.C.Bhartia & Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said that India has a network of over 5 lakh CSCs that have at least one-two village-level entrepreneurs and employ about 12 Lakh people, who are digitally delivering several services to the citizens. The CAIT will make them instrumental in driving digital financial literacy and adoption programs in remote locations which otherwise don’t have access to formal banking. The 40,000 trade associations affiliated with CAIT will play the role of catalyst in bringing traders and CSCs together for availing its benefits.Both Mr. Bhartia & Mr. Khandelwal said that that realising that e commerce will play an important role in business, the CAIT will make live showroom of traders on e commerce portal which will have integrated facilities of digital payments, logistics and live chat. The portal will do not only B2B but B2C business activities also and will be linked with Business Sans Border program of Singapore Government which will provide overseas markets to Indian traders. With the right balance of physical and digital infrastructure through collaboration with Mastercard and HDFC, there will be further thrust to the digitization of MSMEs, especially in terms of availability of capital and incentivising digital payments.
In furtherance of the call of Prime Minister to stop usage of single use plastic, the Conference in a unanimous resolution while supporting the move has decided to launch a nationwide campaign from 1st September,2019 making traders and people aware about the impact of plastic usage on environment and will advise the traders to use alternatives of plastics in their shops and prompt their customers also to use cloth or jute bags while shopping. However, the CAIT has urged the Government to take some immediate steps including a direction to be given to all Corporate Companies, Manufacturers, Packaging Industry etc not to use single use of plastic either in their production line or in packing of finished goods, Production of plastic sheets less than 50 microns should be stopped immediately, Reasonable alternative products to single use plastics should be innovated and made available to the users so that usage of plastic bags etc. should be discontinued from 2nd October. They have also suggested that a Special Task Force comprising of senior officials, trade & industry representatives, plastic manufacturers should be constituted to understand the impact of stoppage of single use plastic and recommend remedial measures to the Government so that there should not be any adverse affect on Industry and employment.
The CAIT has also said that large number of units producing plastic and providing employment to lakhs of people in the Country. It is suggested that before taking any steps, the Government must take suitable measures or alternative measures so that such Industries may not be displaced and people employed in these Industries may not be unemployed.
The Conference also discussed the role of China in giving protection to Pakistan on various Indo-Pak issues the recent with China taking the issue of abrogation of Article 370 to UN Security Council. While expressing strong objections for China the Conference said that ‘traders are custodian of Indian economy and as such as a mark of protest, traders across Country will boycott Chinese products and from 1st September an aggressive campaign will be launched nationwide among trading community not to buy or sell Chinese products.
Mr. Bhartia & Mr. Khandelwal said that largely items being imported from China includes Toys, electronics, mobiles, FMCG products, Hardware goods, electrical items, gift items, festival material etc, which do not involve any much technology. Since the Chinese goods are cheaper for many reasons, the consumers generally buy them without caring the quality.Since our SMEs are capable enough to produce these goods with good quality and at affordable prices, the Government should encourage small Industries and give them a special package so that our people can compete with China.
Both trade leaders demanded that in order to minimise the imports from China, the Government should immediately impose a higher custom duty on imports from China whereas on the other hand strict investigation should be conducted at Indian ports on each import from China as goods being import from China are highly undervalued. They suggested that the Government should confiscate such material and put to auction at more than 50% of the declared price. The Government will come to know a big theft in custom duty and IGST and as such can yield substantial revenue. The CAIT will join hands with national organisations of farmers, transporters, small industries, consumers, hawkers, self help entrepreneurs, women entrepreneurs etc.in this national campaign.
The trade leaders across the Country deeply discussed the burning issue of FDI in retail and e commerce which is making an adverse impact on business of traditional retailers. They said that MNC’s , Big Corporate retailers and E Commerce Companies are adopting all kinds of malpractices like predatory pricing, deep discounting and loss funding and in absence of any regulatory mechanism they are playing their own game and creating an uneven level playing field to the disadvantage. In wholesale cash & carry model the Companies are under obligation to conduct only Business to Business (B2B) business but all of them are directly selling to consumers in retail. These companies are openly flouting the FDI Policy 2016 and so far no action has been taken against them. These companies are making all efforts to control and dominate the retail trade both offline and online which will prove much detrimental to trade and economy of the Country. The CAIT has urged the Government to constitute a “Retail Onbudsman” to monitor and regulate retail trade and e commerce.
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