During a video conference today with about 100 trade leaders of different States affiliated to the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), Union Minister for Commerce & Industry Shri Piyush Goyal called them as " Corona Warriors" at par with police, medical and para medical people and lauded the efforts of the business community in maintaining smooth & efficient supply of essential goods all over the Country despite facing several roadblocks and difficulties in current lockdown period. About 100 trade leaders of different States of the Country participated in the Conference.

While addressing the traders, Shri Piyush Goyal said that traders in the Country have live up to the expectations and are playing a much crucial role in supply of essential goods and the system is so efficient that there is no hue and cry among the people for availability of essential goods in any part of the Country which is more creditable. He said that every one in the Country has stood to the challenge of Corona virus and with the collective efforts of each and everyone, India is still in a far better position in comparison to rest of the World. However, the Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi is committed to free the Country from the threat of Corona virus as early as possible.

Mr. Goyal asked the traders and small industries to produce quality goods and he strongly stressed the need to encourage indigenous products so that our dependence on other Countries should be reduced to minimal. He said that Entrepreneurs always accept the challenge and convert the same into an opportunity and bring innovations and changes in the Society. Therefore, it is the right time for trade & commerce in the Country to adopt better technology and create India as a land of opportunity for advancing businesses. The World is looking at the options and we have to make India as the best option in the World. He also said that exports from India should be encouraged to its optimum level in order to capture larger share of World market.

Prior to this , several trade leaders urged Mr. Goyal for an economic package for the traders who are the most sufferers of present lockdown due to COVID-19. The trade leaders of CAIT urged Shri Piyush Goyal to extend an economic package for the traders which include government subsidy on paying wages to the workers, applicability of force major clause on all bank loans and other liabilities, provision of a " Corona Financial Assistance Program" under which the Banks should be asked to provide 25% amount of the GST return of Year 18-19 as a loan with a minimal rate of interest.

For ensuing an efficient supply chain for delivering essential goods to the consumers, the CAIT trade leaders ask for a greater synergy between Wholesale Traders/Distributors, Retailers, Manufacturers or Producers, Transporters, Courier Services, Raw Material Manufacturers or Producers, Intermediaries, Producers and Distributors of Packaging products etc. This will help the smooth end to end flow of supply chain under every circumstance. Only this can ensure production of essential goods and their distribution up to the Consumers.

The trade leaders said that traders may be allowed for 30-60 days grace period in utility and statutory payments and their credit history should not be impacted. The traders & MSMEs across the board should be given a interest rate subvention at 3 per cent, on standard loans. The Government should provide business insurance policies and coverage at nominal premium in the event of Corona, Employer’s Contribution to the PF/ESIC payment be deferred for a period of around 6 months without interest. fixed charges on electricity bills during the period of lockdown must be waived by electricity suppliers,Payments of wages/salaries of employees should be paid out of ESI, as lockdown is similar to medical emergency. Even those, employees not covered under ESI, their wages to be paid out of Labour Welfare Board funds. Condition of force majeure be applied at all ports & Airports, Railway Stations and on all banking services so that traders may not face payment of demurrage penalty or interest for the lockdown period. __________________________________________________________________________

For more details, please contact CAIT Secretary General Mr. Praveen Khandelwal at +91-9891015165