Most shops and salons were unable to open despite the Ministry of Home Affairs' go-ahead to resume operations. According to the MHA order, issued late night on April 24, “all shops, including neighborhood shops and standalone shops, shops in residential complexes, within the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities, registered under the Shops and Establishment Act of the respective State and UT” would be allowed to reopen with immediate effect.
However, the Confederation of All India Traders’ (CAIT) in a statement said that there was immense confusion over the specifics of "neighborhood shops" and "standalone shops" as there is no definition describing the dynamics of these outlets.
CAIT estimates that the MHA order impacts about 30 lakh shops in urban areas and 10 lakh in rural areas. The CAIT said that in Delhi alone, there are about 75 thousand shops which are eligible to open under this order.
On Sunday, CAIT sent a communication to Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla apprising him of the issue. It has also urged Bhalla to issue further clarifications on neighborhood and standalone shops.
“There are several interpretations by the authorities and as such the shops allowed by the MHA order are yet to be open. There is as such no definition for "neighborhood shops" which is a problematic matter,” the CAIT said.
Further, the industry body also said that there was lack of consensus among the administration and law enforcing agencies which is leading to further problems.
The MHA order allows all standalone and neighborhood shops selling non-essential goods, apart from the already operational ones, which sell essential goods. Salons and parlors have also been allowed to open. Only shops located in the malls will not be able to open. Besides, alcohol shops will also remain shut. The MHA order is also not applicable for shops which are located in the “containment” zones..