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Lockdown chokes essential supplies; retail hit by $30 billion

Lockdown chokes essential supplies; retail hit by $30 billion

Supply of daily essential items has been severely impacted at many places in the country, as India entered the second week of the 21-day national lockdown, despite assurances by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several Chief Ministers that there would be no shortages. The losses to the country’s retail trade is estimated to be $30 billion.

Though grocery stores and milk booths are allowed to operate normally to ensure that there is no disruption in supplies, people have started complaining that many items including breads, spices, butter, and even mosquito repellents are not available at many stores.

Supply of many items has thinned as factories remained shut. While many grocery stores in the national capital region are also operating for a shorter period of time, others remained shut to avoid any chances of contracting the killer SARS-Cov 2 induced contagious COVID-19.

According to the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), about one crore establishments are engaged in business activities pertaining to essential goods and out of this about 25 per cent are operational.

The e-commerce delivery and grocery channels are also unable to keep pace with the demand. A customer of online grocery major Milkbasket complained that the delivery time has changed and many items are unavailable.

“Unlike the service given earlier, now their delivery time has changed and many items are either not available or on will have to wait for a few days for the delivery of those particular supplies,” a Gurgaon resident said.

CAIT estimated the overall loss in the Indian retail segment the last 15 days to be around $30 billion..