The Confederation of All India Traders ( CAIT) said today that, ever since the lockdown was imposed on 24th March, the Indian retail sector has lost a gigantic sum of approximately 5.50 lakh crore in this period and is likely to witness at least 20% of Indian retailers collapse and wind up their businesses in the next few months.In light of the same, the CAIT has urged Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi & Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman to handhold the trading community and award a substantial package to the traders to ensure their survival.
CAIT National President Mr. B.C.Bhartia & Secretary General Mr. Praveen Khandelwal said that Covid-19 has caused a huge irreparable dent in Indian retail trade which will have a devastating effect on the whole country. They said, Indian retailers do a daily business of around 15,000 crore and the country is in a lockdown for over 40 days now that means there is a massive loss of over 5.50 lakh crore of business which is done by 7 crore traders of India from 25th March to 30th April,2020, They further added that out of these 7 crore traders, in all likelihood around 1.5 crore traders will have to permanently down the shutters in a few months and a further 75 lakh traders who are dependent on these 1.5 crore traders will fold up in the medium term.
Mr.Bhartia & Mr. Khandelwal said that at least 2.5 crore Traders in India are micro and small in nature who do not have deep pockets to sustain this severe economic catastrophe. They do not have enough capital to continue their operations in a scenario where their shops are shut for such a long period.
On the one hand they are having to pay salaries, rentals, other monthly expenses and on the other hand they will have to deal with a sharp dip in disposable income of consumers along with strict social distancing norms which will not allow business to return to normalcy for atleast 6-9 months. The Indian economy was already passing through a recessionary phase and there was significant downturn in demand across sectors, but this deadly disease has delivered the knockout punch and washed away all hopes of revival.
Both leaders expressed deep disappointment with the Central and various State Governments for completely abandoning and ignoring the plight of the traders and leaving the entire trading community of India in the most vulnerable state to die a natural death. It is quite appalling that the Governments both Centre and State have not handhold the non corporate sector which contributes more than 40% to India’s GDP and accounts for almost one-third of the total workforce of the nation.
Instead the Government has given diktats that all businesses will have to pay their salaries, the banks will continue to charge interest and the landlords will continue to ask for rentals. This is a complete one-way traffic where the Government only expects from traders but has offered absolutely nothing at all till date.
Mr. Bhartia & Mr. Khandelwal also said that the various notifications by the Home Ministry have not helped the situation on ground level. There is no synchronisation between the Centre and States in implementing the guidelines. The State Governments and Officers at the district level have been singing their own tune and have shown little regard for Central notifications in many cases accusing the Centre although the State Governments are the real execution agencies. This has further added to the woes of Indian Retailers due to such ambiguity in guidelines.
They further said that the Indian retail sector is literally on ventilator mode and without the immediate intervention of the Government which is by and large responsible for this chaos, the sector will suffer unprecedented damage. The economic pandemonium will be even bigger than the Corona pandemic.