As the country’s retail sector is near standstill amid the coronavirus crisis and the nationwide lockdown, the Retailers Association of India (RAI) has urged the government to provide wage subsidy of up to 50 percent on salaries up to Rs 25,000 and moratorium of 6 to 9 months for repayment of loans.
RAI presented its submission on the challenges faced by the retail industry represented by key members of its national council on Wednesday here, a statement said.
It recommended a way forward to support the industry and the nation’s economy to help overcome the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The industry’s appeal to the government to help retail industry survive included stronger policy and fiscal interventions in the form of support for wages; moratorium for payment of principal & interests and support in the form of working capital”, it said.
B.S. Nagesh, Chairman of RAI, noted that the retail industry employs about 4.6 crore people and not opening non-essentials can have a serious impact on 2-2.5 crore employees.
“India is all about consumption and retail is a gateway of consumption. If retail is not open, it’s going to have a serious impact on other sectors such as manufacturing, entertainment and artisans among others. If retail loses a million jobs, it will have a livelihood impact of at least 5 to 6 million,” said Nagesh.
The industry body asked the government to help retain jobs in the sector through wage subsidies up to 50 percent of wages of blued collared workers on salaries up to Rs 25,000 on minimum wages, whatever is higher.
It has also asked for 25 percent additional working capital credit line to pay salaries and wages, along with reduction in GST for the retail sector.