Despite of the orders of Ministry of Home Affairs and subsequent orders of different states including Delhi about opening of shops in different verticals, the traders falling in these categories are finding it difficult to open the shops because of further confusion about what constitute ” neighbourhood shops” and “standalone shops” as there is no specified definition about both these kinds of shops. The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) estimated that the order of Central Government could result in the opening of about 30 lakh shops in urban areas and about 10 lakh shops in rural areas. In Delhi alone, there are about 75 thousand shops which are eligible to open under this order.
The MHA order issued yesterday allowed the opening of all shops in rural areas except shops in shopping malls, all shops in residential complexes, neighbourhood shops and standalone shops in urban areas and e-commerce is allowed for essential commodities only.
CAIT National President Mr. B.C.Bhartia & Secretary General Mr. Praveen Khandelwal said that much confusion is prevailed pertaining to neighbourhood shops which has prevented the traders from opening shops even after the orders issued by various State Governments.
Taking this as an important issue, the CAIT today sent a communication to Home Secretary Shri Ajay Bhalla apprising him of the difficulties faced by the traders on the ground and urging him to issue a further clarification about neighbourhood shops and standalone shops. It has also urged to clarify as to shops of all kinds falling in these verticals are allowed or is there any restrictions on some kind of shops.
In its letter to Home Secretary, the CAIT said that despite of the order of the Union Government and subsequent orders of State Governments including Delhi, still there is a confusion regarding what constitutes the “neighborhood shops”. and “standalone shops”. There are several interpretations by the Authorities and as such the shops allowed by the MHA order are yet to be open. There is as such no definition for “neighborhood shops” which is a problematic matter.
The CAIT while quoting the example of Delhi said that in case of Delhi, the shops mentioned in MHA order has been allowed by the Government of NCT of Delhi to open but in absence of clarity on “neighborhood shops”. the benefit could not be accrued by the traders and people in general. Further, it has been noticed that there is a lack of consensus among the Administration and law enforcement agencies with the result that traders are not allowed to open the shops in question.
The CAIT has also asked clarification regarding necessity of passes for the shopkeepers who are dealing in the shops categorized by the Ministry of Home Affairs. If the traders have to obtain passes, then an easy mechanism may be crafted to enable the traders to obtain passes and suitable instructions may be given to States to smoothen the process of passes.