Covid 2.0 caused Rs 15 lakh cr loss to retail, wholesale trade: CAIT

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New Delhi, June 2 (IANS) The second wave of Covid-19, subsequently followed lockdowns in various states, has caused a mammoth business loss of around Rs 15 lakh crore to India’s domestic trade over the last 60 days, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said on Wednesday.
CAIT, which represents traders across India, said this is prompting small businesses to consider job cuts and cut back on other overheads. It estimated that traders could look at an estimated 30 per cent job cuts if restrictions continue and no financial assistance is provided to them.
“For the first time, traders across the country are contemplating to reduce the number of employees as they have been forced to cut down establishment expenses and overheads due to non-affordability of the recurring monthly expenses. If it happens, it will increase the unemployment figures, particularly when the retail trade in India has been described as the only source of disguised employment and the only sector which provides exponential streams for self-employment in India,” a CAIT statement said.
There are an estimated 8 crore small businesses engaged in trading activities in India, as per estimates by CAIT, providing direct employment to nearly 40 crore people.
India’s second and more severe wave has once again led to a prolonged closure of busy markets, malls and wholesale markets. Trade, barring that of essential goods, has come to a standstill.
States such as Maharashtra have begun a partial opening up of markets, but majority of non-essential trade remains shut in other parts of the country. Traders in Maharashtra reported the highest loss in business as the state moved towards implementing curbs much ahead of others.
“Based on the estimated feedback gathered from CAIT and and leading trade associations in majority of states, the loss of internal trade and commerce due to Covid-19’s second wave for the country stands at about 15 lakh crore, which is quite a huge and substantial loss as the total value of the domestic trade in the Country is estimated at Rs 115 lakh crore per annum ” CAIT President B.C. Bhartia said in the statement.
Bhartia said that out of the total business loss of about Rs 15 lakh crore, retail format has lost Rs 9 lakh crore while the wholesale trade suffered a loss of about 6 lakh crore.
“It is estimated that Maharashtra suffered a business loss of about Rs 1.50 lakh crore, Delhi, a loss of about Rs 40,000 crore, Gujarat about Rs 75,000 crore, Uttar Pradesh about Rs 85,000 crore, Madhya Pradesh about Rs 45,000 crore, Rajasthan about Rs 35,000 crore, Chhattisgarh about Rs 27,000 crore, Karnataka about Rs 70,000 crore, Tamil Nadu about Rs 80,000 crore and likewise the other States have incurred substantial business loss during past two months,” the CAIT statement read.
“We are not asking for any loan waiver but the support policies from both central and state government, temporary relaxations in statutory compliances, and ease of restoring business,” CAIT General Secretary Praveen Khandelwal said.

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