Industry body CAIT has urged the government to reconsider the economic package and announce measures to support traders, saying the community feels let down for exclusion from the Rs 20 lakh crore stimulus to aid the economy reeling from the COVID-19 crisis.
However, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), which has 40,000 trade associations and seven crore members across India, said the trading community will continue to fulfil its obligations towards the nation during the coronavirus pandemic.
The traders' body "resented with deep regret" that one of the largest and most committed segments of the trading community has not found a place in the wide-reaching announcements of the economic package, according to a statement.
CAIT has shot off a communication to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, requesting her to reconsider the economic package. It has sent similar communication to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and Textile Minister Smriti Irani.
CAIT's Delhi NCR unit convenor Sushil Kumar Jain lamented that while announcing the economic package, the government has ignored the traders.
"The trading community is deeply agitated and having gross resentment for its exclusion from the economic package at a time when it was direly needed since traders of the country will be forced to face serious challenges of financial crisis, Jain said.
"The traders of India have stood firmly with the government and the people of India in these troubled times to ensure continuous supply of essential commodities so that every citizen had substantial supplies during lockdown, he said.
"The traders feel that the government has let them down, by non-inclusion in the much awaited economic package, he added.
CAIT said seven crore traders in the country are carrying out business activities in urban, rural and semi rural areas, and many of them with very limited resources and fear being hit by the lockdown further.
It is reiterated that at the time of lifting of lockdown, the traders will have to meet various financial obligations like payment of salary to employees, payment of GST, income tax and other government payment, EMIs, bank interest on loans taken by the traders and various other incidental expenses, the traders' body said.
On the other hand, normal credit extended by traders in B2B transactions will likely accrue back not before 60-75 days from the day of opening the markets. All such circumstances will land the traders in turbulent time of financial crisis," according to CAIT.
It is expected that in absence of any hand-holding of the traders, about 20% marginal traders will have no other option but to close down their business establishments and rest of the traders will have to do great struggle for reviving their businesses, it said.