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80 per cent standalone shops, salons shut: CAIT

80 per cent standalone shops, salons shut: CAIT

About 80 per cent shops and retailers, including salons, remained shut despite the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs gave (MHA) a go-ahead to these establishments to start operations in green and orange zones from May 4.

Most of the shops and salons in the metro cities are located in either market places or malls. Since March 25, only shops dealing in essential goods such as food and grocery items, fruits and medicines were allowed to be operational. However, many states have given approval to open the liquor shops.

On May 1, the MHA issued guidelines extending the lockdown till May 17. However, it gave several relaxations allowing certain economic activities to resume. While standalone and neighborhood shops selling essential and non-essential goods have been allowed, the Confederation of All-India Traders (CAIT) said that the lack of co-ordination and communication between the Centre, states, and local authorities has created a huge barrier for the shops to resume operations.

“Very few are standalone shops located outside a marketplace or mall in the big cities. Of these, the ones that can are eligible to open have not managed to do so because there is no co-ordination between the central, state, and local authorities. Most shops have therefore remained closed, the ones that opened have also been asked to shut down in many places,” Praveen Khandelwal, secretary general, CAIT, said.

Since March 25, the first day of the lockdown, the Indian retail sector has lost about Rs 5.50 lakh crore, CAIT said, adding that at least 20 per cent of the retailers may have to wind up their businesses in the next few months.

Almost 5 crore retail establishments have had no revenue since the imposition of the lockdown . At present, there are about seven crore traders and retail establishments employing another 40 crore people. Recently, CAIT said that most of the retailers are in no position pay full salaries to their employees for the month of April.

Khandelwal also said that the retail sector will continue to be under pressure even after the lockdown, as consumers may refrain from making big and medium-size purchases in the wake of the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus and rising economic uncertainty..