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Indian Retailers Lose Around $30 Billion in 15 Days Amid COVID-19 Lockdown - Traders Body

CC0 / / Streets in Delhi
Streets in Delhi  - Sputnik International
New Delhi (Sputnik): The Indian retail sector, comprising 70 million small, medium, and large traders employing 450 million people, does monthly business worth approximately $70 billion. The sector is one of the hardest hit due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has put a deafening halt to the wheels of the Indian economy.

The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), which represents the country's business community, on Tuesday claimed that the losses incurred by the retail trade of the country in the last 15 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic is worth a massive $30 billion.

Praveen Khandelwal, the secretary general of the Confederation of All India Traders, said that even if global economies and other sectors of the Indian economy bounce back sooner than expected, Indian traders will have to pay a higher price and the strenuous ramifications will reverberate for a much longer time.

"[The m]ost important reason for this devastating situation is the fact that a majority of the Indian traders have had to shut operations for health reasons, while still paying employees' salaries and that’s apart from meeting costs for rentals, taxes and other levies", Khandelwal said. 

He further revealed that the import cycle has been hit drastically, due to which Indian traders may not have enough goods to sell even after the lockdown is lifted. 

"Finished goods imports from China, USA, Europe which are under severe effects of Covid-19 will take more time to normalise and therefore the import cycle and supply chain might take much longer to get back on track. Even Indian industries which are dependent on Imported raw material components will take a longer time to kick-start their operations due to shortage of raw materials", Khandelwal explained.

According to the traders association, if the production by Indian industries is not up to the mark, retailers will end up facing acute shortages of finished products.

He also highlighted that the retail markets in urban centres will face an acute shortage of labour, as workers have migrated to their towns and villages fearing for the safety of their lives due to the severity of the health hazards in cities, which are more severely hit due to COVID-19. 

"The government may have deferred the EMIs but without waiving off the interest, this (step) will be of no real value. We have further appealed to the government for concrete action like tax concessions, smooth and easy access to credit, GST write-offs, relaxation and reimbursements for wages, waiver of interest costs, among other demands", he said. 

India is under a 21-day COVID-19 national lockdown which has resulted in huge business losses due to the spreading coronavirus disease.

The virus has to date claimed 29 lives in India, according to the federal Health Ministry.

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