Traders' body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) on Tuesday said that the retail sector lost nearly Rs 5.5 lakh crore in the coronavirus lockdown from March 25 to April 30. Nearly 20 per cent of the Indian retailers are expected to close their businesses in the next few months due to the lockdown, CAIT added. The traders' body has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to announce a fiscal package for the traders to ensure their survival. CAIT is the umbrella association for nearly 40,000 trade bodies across India representing 7 crore traders.
Coronavirus has caused a huge irreversible dent in Indian retail trade which is expected to have devastating effect on the whole country, CAIT said.
"Of 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", CAIT noted.
"It is quite appalling that the Governments, both Centre and State, have not handheld 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", CAIT added.
Meanwhile, CAIT on Monday opposed opening of liquor shops across various states amid lockdown. The move by states could destroy the advantages accrued from the 40-day lockdown and increase coronavirus cases, CAIT said. "It will also be a gross injustice to the traders of the country including Delhi, who have been asked to shut down their business establishments which have been followed by the traders across the Country in its true letter and spirit", the traders' body also said.