Indian retail sector comprising around 7 crore traders has witnessed a loss of Rs 5.50 lakh crore since March 25 when the lockdown was imposed to contain the coronavirus infection, traders' body CAIT said on Tuesday.
Besides at least 20 per cent of Indian retailers are likely to wind up their businesses in the next few months, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said in a statement.
Following these challenging times, CAIT has urged the government to award a substantial package to traders to ensure their survival.
COVID-19 has caused a huge dent in retail trade which will have a devastating effect on the whole country, CAIT Secretary-General Praveen Khandelwal said.
"Indian retailers do a daily business of around Rs 15,000 crore and since the country is in a lockdown there has been a huge loss of over Rs 5.
50 lakh crore of business, which is done by 7 crore traders of the country.
This will force around 1.
5 crore traders to permanently down their shutters and a further 75 lakh traders, who are dependent on these 1.
5 crore traders, will fold up in the medium term,” he added.
At least 2.5 crore traders in India are micro and small in nature who do not have deep pockets to sustain this severe economic catastrophe, he added.
On the one hand, they are paying salaries, rentals, other monthly expenses and on the other hand, they will have to deal with a sharp dip in disposable income of consumers along with strict social distancing norms, which will not allow business to return to normalcy for at least 6-9 months, Khandelwal said.
The Indian economy was already passing through a recessionary phase and there was a significant downturn in demand across sectors, but this pandemic has delivered the knockout punch and washed away all hopes of revival, he added.
CAIT National President B C Bhartia urged the government to intervene otherwise the sector will suffer unprecedented damage.
"If there are no steps taken now to resolve this the economic pandemonium will be even bigger than the Corona pandemic," he added.