The rise in Covid-19 cases and imposition of restrictions by states have led to businesses across the country suffering losses of around 50 per cent in the first 15 days of the new year, according a survey by the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT).
CAIT, an apex body of trading community having access to more than 20,000 trade federations/associations/chambers, had conducted a survey among the traders between January 1 and 15 in 36 cities.
“CAIT Research and Trade Development Society had conducted the survey in 36 cities of different states, which CAIT had given the status of ‘distribution centre’, to find out the impact of the various restrictions imposed by local administrations. The survey findings have revealed that the country’s domestic trade has declined by an average of about more than 50 per cent,” said Jamshedpur-based home appliance trader and CAIT general secretary Suresh Sonthalia.
According to figures shared by CAIT officials from the survey, there has been a loss of 35 per cent in FMCG, 50 per cent in electronics, 50 per cent in mobiles, 35 per cent in daily consumption items, 60 per cent in footwear, 35 per cent in jewellery, 65 per cent in toys, 70 per cent in gift items, 50 per cent in builders hardware, 50 per cent in sanitary ware, 30 per cent in apparel, 40 per cent in textiles, 30 per cent in cosmetics, 50 per cent in furniture, 50 per cent in furnishing fabrics, 40 per cent in electrical goods, 50 per cent in suitcases and luggage, 30 per cent in food grains, 45 per cent in kitchen appliances, 40 per cent in watches, 35 per cent in computer and computer goods, and 40 per cent in stationery and paper.
“There is a loss of more than 50 per cent of business in Jharkhand and across the country due to Covid-19 in 15 days. The main reason for this decline is the panic among people due to the third wave of the pandemic, reluctance of traders to come to distribution centres from neighbouring cities, cash crunch, large sums of money getting stuck in credit and imposition of various Covid restrictions without consulting the traders,” CAIT national secretary general Praveen Khandelwal said.
Citing the survey, Khandelwal said: “There has been an average decline of 45 per cent in business in the last seven days in Jharkhand and across the country. The out-of-town buyer is not going out of his city while the consumers are going to the market to buy goods only when it is really important. The business of the country has taken a bad hit and the central and state governments need to pay attention to it.”
CAIT would be writing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and all chief ministers on Tuesday.
“We have decided to write to the Prime Minister, finance minister and all the state chief ministers on this score. The total retail trade in the country is about Rs 150 lakh crore, we would like the central government and the chief ministers of all the states to take all possible steps to prevent Covid from further spreading, but besides restrictions, the commercial and economic activities should also be allowed to go on smoothly side by side. We would like the trade association to be consulted in the decision on steps to taken in the fight against pandemic,” Sonthalia said.
Sonthalia said business during the wedding season, which begins from January 14 and continues till March-end, was expected touch Rs 4 lakh crore. “But due to various restrictions imposed by the state governments across the country, a steep drop is expected. Traders estimate that in the next two and a half months, there is a possibility of business of only about Rs 1.50 lakh crore, which means a loss of about Rs 2.5 lakh crore during wedding season,” Sonthalia added.