Business Bureau :
As per inputs available from the traders across the country, currently there is footfall of only 10% as compared to pre-lockdown period
The coronavirus pandemic in the country has cost a business loss of about Rs 15.5 lakh crore to Indian retail trade in past 100 days resulting into a great turmoil in domestic trade. Even after 45 days from unlock-1, the traders are highly depressed because of low footfall of the consumer, said B C Bhartia, National President of Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT). “There is considerable absence of both white collar and blue collar employees who are facing high level of financial crunch and also have to meet various financial obligations. No support policy from the Central or State Government is yet another crucial factor which is haunting the traders,” Bhartia said.
Analysing the current situation in domestic trade of the country, Bhartia said that the domestic trade is passing through its worst period in the current century which reflects that if immediate steps are not taken about 20% of the shops in India will have to close down their shutters. Bhartia said that as per estimates there was a business loss of about Rs 5 lakh crore in April. Whereas in May it was approximately Rs 4.5 lakh crore. Post lockdown in June it was about Rs 4 lakh crore and during the first 15 days of July the business loss stood at Rs 2.5 lakh crore.
Local consumers fearing coronavirus are not visiting markets as they were during pre-lockdown period. Similarly, the traders who were procuring goods from neighbouring states or cities are not visiting such places due to coronavirus fear and hurdles in availability of inter-city or inter-state transportation. Due to all these reasons, the commercial markets across the country are wearing a deserted look. As per inputs available from the traders across the country, currently there is footfall of only 10% as compared to pre-lockdown period.
This has greatly affected the daily turnover of the traders, he added. Praveen Khandelwal, Secretary General of the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said, “Traders are depressed as they have not been given any stimulus package either from the Central Government or State Governments”. He said, “At this crucial time, handholding of traders is required. A financial mechanism needs to be crafted to award business loans to traders. Relaxation in payment of taxes and extension in repayment of bank loans, EMIs etc., without any further interest or penalty is required”.
Also, several steps need to be taken to provide financial liquidity in the hands of traders to revive business activity, he said. “Another big problem for the traders is that the goods supplied from December 2019 to March 2020 the payments have been delayed due to COVID-19 lockdown. In the current circumstances, credit payments are expected to begin from September 2020. Inspite of such difficulties traders are subject to fulfill various financial obligations. This has put the traders in a vulnerable position. Therefore, a helping hand from the Central and State Governments is urgently required”, he added.