The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) estimates that COVID-19 pandemic has inflicted a loss of about US$253 bn (Rs 19 lakh crore) to India's retail industry in the past five-months, this is based on the estimates collected from figures received from 20 major cities in various states.
The entire retail trade, which is often called a growth engine of the economy, is pasing through its worst period in the current century and is in great dilemma never seen before. According to Praveen Khandelwal, Secretary General, CAIT, the pandemic has resulted in great turmoil for domestic trade to the extent that even after 'Unlock-4', traders across the country are "highly depressed". "The retail market is gripped with acute financial crisis as even the supplies made in November-December, the payment of which was to be released in February-March is still pending and there is no hope of its early realisation." he added.
CAIT appealed to Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman to advise banks not to charge any interest or penalty from traders for the time being. "If immediate steps are not taken about 20 per cent of the shops in India will have to close down their shutters and it will give rise to unemployment in the country," as per the association.