Industry body FICCI has urged the government to include the retail industry in the list of 'frontline workers' and among the early recipients of the COVID-19 vaccine.
In a letter written to Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, FICCI Secretary General Dilip Chenoy said that country's retailers have been on the front lines throughout the pandemic ensuring seamless flow of goods, products and services to people.
"Their early vaccination would not only ensure their own safety, but also help break the potential transmission of the virus to the larger communities they serve," he wrote to the minister.
The Indian Retail and E-commerce industry employs around 40 million people. Those working across stores, distribution centers, warehouses and throughout the retail ecosystem are particularly at highest risk from the devastating impact of the pandemic.
Earlier, Arvind Mediratta, Chairperson, FICCI Retail and Internal Trade Committee and MD & CEO - METRO Cash & Carry India Pvt. Ltd said that the industry leaders jointly deliberated on the need for intervention of private sector in the ongoing vaccination programme and stressed upon prioritising retail employees as well as small retailers like mom and pop kiranas shops as front-line workers and incorporating them in the Covid-19 vaccination programme.
"The pandemic has reiterated the true value of the presence of these small businesses and kiranas in our neighbourhood. The kirana community along with retail employees should be recognised as 'frontline workers' as they have been serving the nation tirelessly despite being the most vulnerable to the risk of infection. These frontline retail warriors should be prioritised in the initial phase of the vaccination rollout," he said.