Business Bureau ;
Highlighting the situation of traders all over the country, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said that India’s domestic trade is severely suffering due to COVID-19 which has brought down the traders on their knees and it seems that there are no signs of immediate respite in near future. CAIT said that because of not getting any support from both Central and State Governments which may see collapse of about 25 per cent small businesses i.e. about 1.75 crore shops across the country are on the verge of closure adding that it will be the most disastrous to the country’s economy.
The Indian domestic trade which is largest self organised sector across the world but being wrongly described as unorganised sector is one of the widest trades over the globe consisting of more than 7 crore traders providing employment to more than 40 crore people and generating an annual turnover of about Rs 60 lakh crore. More than 8,000 broad categories of items having several different verticals under each broad category is being traded in India. The banking sector has so far failed to provide formal finance to this sector since only 7 per cent of the small businesses are able to obtain finance from the banks and other financial institutions and rest of the 93 per cent traders are dependent upon informal sources to meet their financial requirements. CAIT National President B C Bhartia and Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said that COVID-19 has sucked the blood of Indian domestic trade which is currently struggling hard for its survival and facing several onslaughts from every corner.
In pre-COVID-19 period, the domestic trade was facing great financial liquidity in the market and post COVID-19 period has brought the trade under abnormal and high level of financial strain and traders are feeling highly handicapped to revive the business. “There was no provision of even a single rupee for small businesses in the Rs 20 lakh crore package announced by the Union Government and neither any State Government in the country formulated any financial assistance for small businesses.
“What pinches the traders is that all other sectors of economy even the migrant labour was considered worth for financial package but the traders whom the political fraternity attribute as life line of economy, were utterly neglected despite the fact that on one call of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the traders played the most critical role in continuing the supply chain across the country so efficiently that there was not even a single instance of scarcity of goods was reported across the country. Bhartia and Khandelwal both said that the utter neglect and apathy of the Central and the State Governments will be responsible for closure of 1.75 crore shops in India which will certainly and significantly add to the numbers of unemployment in India and will give a major setback to PM’s call for ‘vocal for local’ and ‘Atmnirbhar Bharat’.
They further said that the traders are under much financial obligation for payment of Central and State Government taxes, repayment of monthly instalments of loan taken from formal and informal sources, EMIs, water and electricity bills, property tax, payment of interest, payment of wages to the labour and various other payments. The CAIT has urged the Prime Minister to take immediate cognisance of the issue of the traders and announce a package policy for traders and help them in revival of their business.