The Retailers Association of India (RAI) has requested state administrations to allow food and grocery stores of all formats, irrespective of their locations to stay open during the lockdown period.
The request comes after some unfortunate incidents in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Gujarat where the police beat up employees and delivery staff of retailers and dragged them to police stations.
”Most of the State Governments have agreed with RAI’s view that shutting of stores selling essential daily need items will cause gross inconvenience to citizens and may set off panic buying of daily need items in the state, thereby creating a shortage for the needy,” RAI said in a statement.
”RAI requested all the 29 State Governments of the country to allow all food and grocery stores within malls or outside, air-conditioned or not air-conditioned, small size store or large size store to stay open during the lockdown period,” it added.
Citing that these employees are risking their lives for serving citizens, the association a requested to the Chief Ministers and the DGPs of these states to intervene in this situation so that essential goods are accessible to citizens without any hindrance.
The association also requested home deliveries be allowed to prevent people from stepping out of their homes thereby preventing the spreading of the infection.
Due to the mandatory closure of malls and retail stores across states, retailers face imminent financial crisis/insolvency. As a result, the livelihoods of millions employed in retail are in peril.
RAI has submitted representations to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Department for Promotion of Industry & Internal Trade (DPIIT), the Commerce Ministry, and the Finance Ministry to help the retail industry cope with the detrimental effects on business in the wake of coronavirus pandemic.
They have also written to the Reserve Bank of India, the State Bank of India and the Chief Ministers of all the States urgently requesting an immediate economic stimulus to ensure continuity of retail businesses and consumption in India.
The association has asked for various fiscal supports like moratorium of 120 days for payment of instalments and the interest of term loans, short-term loans, corporate loans, securitized loans, bonds, mortgages, debentures and general-purpose loans effective from 1st March 2020 to 30th June 2020.