Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal interacted with the representatives of various traders associations via video conferencing to address the hardships faced by retail traders even after a majority of the shops, apart from those in malls, were allowed to be open, without any distinction of essential and non-essential.
Goyal said the domestic manufacturing of protective equipment such as masks, sanitisers, gloves and PPEs (personal protection equipment) has been scaled up during this period. He further said the lockdown period was meant to build the capacity to combat coronavirus. The Union Commerce Minister also stated the Aatmanirbhar Bharat package that provided credit guarantee worth Rs 3 lakh crore for MSMEs also included traders. This, he said, was due to the revisions made in the definition of MSMEs.
Goyal added the retail traders did not have to feel threatened by e-commerce companies and that the government was working on a mechanism to facilitate business to business (B2B) for retail traders. This mechanism will also be aimed at providing technical support to retail traders so they can expand their reach. Regarding term loans issues being faced by the trader community, the minister said he would take up with the matter with the finance ministry.
The minister also assured the traders of economic recovery saying exports that plunged almost 60% in April had started showing an upward trend. He also said the decline in exports was likely to be lesser this month compared to April.