Amid various rumours of closure of markets in Delhi and other States of the Country, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), apex body of business community of the Country clarified that so far no Trade Association has taken any decision to close the markets in the wake of corona virus. The Government is taking various steps in combating COVID-19 at the front and therefore any decision of such closure can be taken in consultation with Government, other Agencies and with trade leaders of each State including Delhi. However, if Government takes any such decision, the traders will comply with the same-added CAIT.
CAIT National President B.C.Bhartia & Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said that trade leaders will consider all pros & cons of any shutdown of the markets as the shops of the traders are first point contact for 130 crore people for meeting their requirements. There are about 7 crore traders in the Country providing employment to nearly 45 crore people and as such any decision of closure of shops will be taken after due consideration. In Delhi, there are about 15 lakh small and big traders who are vetting to the requirements of 1.25 crore people of Delhi.
Both Bhartia & Khandelwal said that closure of physical markets is not the only solution unless sales of e commerce platforms are also banned as the possibility of infection in goods delivered by e commerce companies cannot be ruled out. Even the delivery boys of the e commerce companies visit several places in the day to deliver the goods mostly to unknown people and no one knows when they get infected by any person suffering with virus. Therefore, closure of e commerce sales is all the more much required.
However, both Bhartia & Khandelwal said that fear of corona virus has gripped the commercial markets and people of all walks of life are beginning to feel its impact. The footfall of the customers is going down each day precisely because of prevailing panic & fear. Delhi is the largest centre for distribution of trade in the Country. About 5 lakh traders from other states visit Delhi daily for procurement of their stores. This number of 5 lakh has gone down considerably to about one lakh and general consumer is avoiding in visiting markets. As per an estimate business to the tune of 30% is so far affected due to COVID-19 because of lower turnout of consumers in the markets.
As of now, there is no dearth of material lying in the supply chain as most of the importers and the traders across Country generally keep a buffer stock of 45-60 days and as of now, the supply chain is fully geared up with abundant of material and it is hoped that for next 15-20 days, the supply chain will be able to deliver goods. It is only after 15 days, the heat may be felt.
Both Bhartia & Khandelwal said that irrespective of dependence on China, there is going to be a considerable impact on domestic trade & industry. As per information available, loss of production in China is estimated 85% to 90% in February and March bringing a cumulative loss of about 80% of planned production. Since India is dependent upon China basically for three verticals i.e. import of finished goods, raw material required for production and spare parts for assembling finished goods, therefore, the production loss in China is certainly going to affect our domestic trade and small industry. Unfortunately, in past years, no efforts were made by trade & industry to develop alternate sourcing of finished goods, raw material or spare parts and this is the key reason for bringing an impact on trade & industry in India. However, the domestic manufacturers are doing their best to meet the requirements of supply chain. However, there is a need of hand holding of small industries by the Government at this crucial juncture.