Ease of Doing Business for MSMEs: Pandemic-induced travel and trade restrictions across multiple states in the country owing to the rising number of Covid cases has led to 30 per cent business loss in retail markets, according to the apex body for India’s trader community Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT). Preventive measures viz., night curfew, partial lockdown, etc., undertaken by the state governments have “caused a panic in the minds of consumers. This has resulted in a loss of 30 per cent in business activities in retail markets in last one week,” the confederation, which represents around 8 crore traders across over 40,000 trade associations, said in a statement. Moreover, the inter-state movement of goods by traders has also contracted by around 15-20 per cent due to the night curfew while consumer footfall in retail markets has also witnessed a nearly 50 per cent drop.
The data was based on the week’s performance shared by CAIT’s trade leaders in states including Maharashtra, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Delhi, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh, according to the joint statement by the confederation’s National President B C Bhartia and Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal. “A closer analysis of the Covid statistics over the last one week has made it amply clear that night curfew, lockdown, and other restrictions have been absolutely futile in achieving the desired results of bringing down the cases.”
Night curfew has already been imposed in Delhi, Punjab, Gujarat, Odisha, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh while Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, others have announced restricted lockdown. CAIT had suggested Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday to limit the shop timings from 11.00 am to 5.00 pm instead of imposing a complete lockdown. The country’s daily new Covid cases continue to shoot up. Over 1.45 lakh new cases were registered in the last 24 hours even as India’s vaccination coverage crossed the 10 crore mark on Saturday.
Importantly, while the impact of Covid on MSMEs has been severe, there has been no official record maintained for the number of MSMEs impacted. “As MSMEs are there in both formal and informal sector, data regarding temporary or permanent closure of the units are not maintained by the Government of India in Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME),” MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari had said in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha in February.