Traders' body CAIT on Tuesday said India's retail trade has incurred losses to the tune of whopping USD 30 billion (about Rs 2.2 lakh crore) in the last fortnight alone due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), the country's retail sector, comprising 70 million small, medium and big traders employing 450 million people, undertakes a monthly business of about USD 70 billion (approximately Rs 5.2 lakh crore) and is one of the hardest hit due to the global pandemic.
CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said that even if global economies and other sectors of the Indian economy bounce back sooner than expected, Indian traders are likely to pay a higher price and the strenuous ramifications will reverberate for a much longer time than expected.
"Most important reason for this devastating situation is the fact that a majority of the Indian traders have had to down shutters or curtail operations for health reasons, while still paying employees' salaries and that's apart from meeting costs for rentals, taxes and other levies," he said.
Khandelwal said that another significant reason is that the import cycle has been hit drastically due to which Indian traders may not have enough goods to sell even after the lockdown is lifted.
"Finished goods' imports from China, USA, and Europe which are under severe effects of COVID-19 will take more time to normalise and, therefore, the import cycle and supply chain might take much longer to get back on track," he said.
Khandelwal further added that retail markets in urban centres will face an acute shortage of labour which have migrated to their towns and villages amid the coronavirus outbreak and the nationwide lockdown.