In the wake of Coronavirus outbreak, the government announced a lockdown of all non-essential commercial spaces and shops in multiple districts. Abiding by these new orders, the Retail Association of India (RAI) has expressed its concerns over the disruption caused in the movement of staff involved in the supply chain of groceries.
RAI argued that the mandatory closure of malls and retail stores across states will cause grave inconvenience to citizens and may set off panic buying of daily consuming food items, thereby creating a shortage of essential goods for the needy ones. The association also stated that shutting down of malls and retail stores is causing the imminent financial crisis to their businesses.
Therefore, RAI has submitted representations to the Prime Minister’s Office, Department for Promotion of Industry & Internal Trade (DPIIT), the Commerce Ministry, and the Finance Ministry. Not only this, but it also requested the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the State Bank of India and the state chief ministers for an immediate economic stimulus to ensure continuity of retail businesses and consumption in India.
It has further asked for various fiscal supports like moratorium of 120 days for payment of installments and the interest of term loans, short-term loans, corporate loans, securitized loans, bonds, mortgages, debentures and general-purpose loans effective from 1 March 2020 to 30 June 2020. It also urged for wages subsidy, subsidy on utility bills, an extension of the due date of compliances and payment of statutory dues like Advance Tax, GST, ESIC, PF among others for payments falling due between 1 March and 30 June 2020.
Apart from this, the association raised a few unfortunate incidents happened in the states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, and Gujarat and put forward a request to the chief ministers and DGPS saying that the local police are going beyond word of law, beating employees and delivery staff of such retailers, and taking them to chowkis for doing their duty.
RAI has called the Government’s attention to the possibility that the pandemic could last longer than the lockdown period of 8-10 weeks and it necessitates urgent steps by the Government to work on an immediate solution (60 days) as well as a medium-term solution (180 Days).