Business Bureau :
In support of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for ‘Janata Curfew’ more than 7 crore traders across the country, led by the Confederation of All India Traders (CAT) closed their businesses on March 22 and nearly 40 crore of their employees stayed at their homes and participated in ‘Janta Curfew’. About 60,000 commercial markets all over the country remained closed with no business activities. Joining hands with CAIT, about 1 crore transporters, 4 crore hawkers and 2 crore small scale industries refrained from any kind of business activities.
CAIT National President B C Bhartia and Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said that the CAIT on March 22, has sent a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi appreciating the great efforts of the Government in combating COVID-19. In the letter sent to the Prime Minister, CAIT said that the chemist shops, dairy shops and grocery and general merchants operating in residential colonies should be exempted from lockdown so that people can procure daily requirements. Bhartia and Khandelwal said that the coronavirus is having a brutal bearing on domestic trade particularly when financial year is ending on March 31, 2020. CAIT also said that it would be better if the current financial year is extended upto April 30, 2020.
CAIT has urged the PMto take initiative to protect economy as well and all liabilities and filing of returns under Income Tax and GST should be postponed to June 30, 2020. Steps should be taken to ensure that no account of any trader in the country is declared as NPA. Payment of all bank loans and EMIs should also be extended upto June 30, 2020. No interest or penalty should be charged on any such extended period. A corona cash loan may be advanced to traders through banks at a concessional rate of interest to continue the supply chain effectively at this crucial hour.
The Government may also provide a subsidy to domestic traders for awarding wages to their employees for the period of the lockdown. Along with CAIT, other national organisations of retail sector including All India Motor Transport Welfare Association, National Hawkers Federation, Laghu Udyog Bharti, MSME Development Forum, All India Ladies Entrepreneurs Association, All India Motor Transport Congress, Bharatiya Kisan Manch etc., participated in ‘Janta Curfew’. The one day Bandh caused a business loss of about Rs 15,000 crore to domestic trade of India.The three-day Trade Bandh call of Delhi traders by CAIT connected into the Janta Curfew and all major and big markets of Delhi remained completely closed and there were no business activities in Delhi. The Delhi Trade Bandh will continue tomorrow and same evening the trade leaders of Delhi will decide future course of action.