Retailers welcome govt's directive not to impose lockdown outside containment zones
New Delhi, Sep 1 (KNN) The Retailers Association of India (RAI) has welcomed the Centre's directive to states and union territories not to impose lockdown outside containment zones without approval.
''The Centre's directive to states and union territories not to impose lockdown outside containment zones without approval, comes as a silver lining to the Indian retail industry that has been battling localised restrictions,'' RAI said in a statement.
''Earlier, weekend and partial lockdowns were being implemented at the local levels despite Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) orders to keep retail open on all days, which suggested a gap in coordination between centre and states,'' it added.
Commenting on this directive by the MHA, Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, RAI, said, “We appreciate the efforts of MHA and DPIIT for taking steps to get the economy going.''
''Livelihood is important and we believe that any shutdowns should be very carefully calibrated to ensure a balance between lives and livelihood. A central focus as compared to just local decisions is the need of the hour. We, at RAI, had shared our concerns in this regard with the DPIIT and the MHA and we are very glad about the outcome,” he added.
RAI said retailers are majorly depending on the upcoming festive season for the recovery of the business. Boost to the retail industry will in turn benefit the entire value chain, which involves manufacturing, entertainment, artisans and other micro-enterprises.
"Removing roadblocks at the local level will not only help retailers to plan better for the season, but will also help them make decisions on hiring," it added.
RAI further said that for retailers, nearly 60-70 per cent of costs are fixed with rents and salaries to employees make up a large part.
''In times like these, when the demand is inelastic, it is crucial to keep stores open on all days and for extended hours. Only this will help retailers crawl back from the financial distress they have been facing and encourage social distancing,'' it added.
Such a move will also benefit taxes collected by the state governments like GST, among others which is important to help revive the economy, said RAI.
''Most importantly, it will be in the interest of consumers as it will bring convenience to them,'' it added.