At a time when India is grappling with a third COVID-19 wave, the retail trade in the country has suffered a 50 percent drop in business over last 15 days, estimates by domestic trade organisation Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) suggested.The retail industry in India is pegged at Rs 150 lakh crore.
CAIT’s preliminary estimates indicate that various businesses throughout the country lost on an average 50 per cent of their revenues since the past 15 days with various restrictions imposed by the respective state governments.
CAIT has written to the authorities in the centre and state administrations, urging them to allow smooth conduct of business activities, in addition to putting adequate restrictions for curbing COVID cases in the country.
The trade body also criticised the odd-even guidelines by the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi saying that it has proven to be a futile exercise, restricting the business activities to only 2-3 days in a week in the national capital.
“The centuries old distributive character of Delhi trade has been highly distorted and slowly the trade of Delhi is shifting to other states. It is to be noted that nearly 5 lakh traders from other states are daily visiting Delhi to source their requirements. But with COVID-19 restrictions, they have stopped coming to Delhi and must be sourcing the requirements from other states, the adverse effect on Delhi trade will be known in later future,” CAIT said in a statement.
According to the statement, jointly released from CAIT National President BC Bhartia and Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal, the trade leaders pointed out that due to various restrictions of COVID-19, there has been an average decline of 45 per cent in the business of the last 7 days across the country.
“The out-of-town buyer is not going out of his city, whereas the consumers are also going to the market to buy goods only when it is really important. Thus, the business of the country has fallen badly, on which the central and all the state governments need to pay attention,” the statement read.
According to research undertaken by CAIT across 36 cities in different states of the country has revealed that the country's domestic trade has declined by an average of about more than 50 per cent in the last week.
"The main reason for this decline is the panic among people due to the third wave of coronavirus, [reluctant] mood of traders to come to distributing goods from neighbouring cities, money crunch, large sums of money getting stuck in credit and [imposition] of various COVID-19 restrictions without consulting the traders,” CAIT said.
The hardest hit sectors were fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), electronics, mobiles, footwear, jewellery, toys, gifts, hardware, sanitary ware, textiles, and cosmetics.
The trade leaders said that the business of the wedding season, which began from Makar Sankranti from January 14 and in the coming 2 and half months, a business of about Rs. 4 lakh crore was expected, but due to the various restrictions imposed by the state governments across the country a steep drop has been seen.
Now it is estimated that in the next two and a half months in this business vertical, there is a possibility of business of about Rs 1.50 lakh crore, which translates to a loss of about Rs 2.5 lakh crore in wedding season, they added.
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