Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's third stimulus package has come in for sharp criticism from the domestic trader community that has rued the step-motherly treatment meted out to them not only in this but also the first two packages.
"We are highly disappointed with third stimulus package announced today by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. It is highly regretted that in all three stimulus packages not even a singly penny has been allotted to the traders which is certainly a step motherly treatment to trading community and highly violates the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for vocal on local," said Praveen Khandelwal, national general secretary, CAIT. "Who is local more than the traders who are the first point contact of 135 crore people of the country? This is certainly a step motherly treatment with traders of India and if this remains the case then traders will have to draw their own strategy."
CAIT said it has wholeheartedly supported each of government's policies in the last few months be it Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan, 'Vocal For Local' campaign, furthering digital payments, or boycott of Chinese products, but the government has not acknowledged its importance.
"We are the worst sufferers of COVID pandemic and were expecting a package since the announcement of first tranche of stimulus package. But to no avail. The Finance Minister has no sympathy for us. It's ironical that all other sectors of economy have been adequately adjusted in all three packages but we have been left out," said B C Bhartia, national president, CAIT.
"We don't want to remain in any illusion furthermore. In the current situation, we are fighting various battles on our own and so far the government has not made any effort to support us. It can't be tolerated any more. We are receiving lots of questions from traders across the country which has prompted us to now adopt a well thought strategy to protect our community from the various onslaughts. We will convene a national debate on these issues soon after Diwali and will chalk out a strategy," he further added.
Khandelwal added that there was a conspiracy against traders evident in the change in definition of MSMEs in 2017 where in the words wholesalers, distributors and retailers were removed.
"For a long time we are running from pillar to post but except assurance no concrete step has been taken so far. Every time the axe always falls on us," Khandelwal said.