The shopkeepers are facing a lot of difficulties in their work due to the lockdown.
NOIDA: The pandemic has largely affected the shopkeepers in Delhi and NCR in many ways. Most of the shopkeeper’s business has decreased by 50%, some shopkeepers have removed their workers as they don’t have money to give to them and many shopkeepers have lost their customers too.
The novel coronavirus has affected the small and medium scaled workers due to the pandemic and lockdown. Sales of the shops decreased as the shops were closed during this time. After the reopening of shops, the business is not going with the same flow as earlier because now people are giving preference to online shopping instead of going out to purchase their daily needs and even medicines.
The Covid era has made people more aware about the importance of sanitation and contact less delivery. In the coming months, this impact will only increase. Companies and even small shops need to develop an online platform for their business to help it grow during the pandemic and
In ancient times, Hindus were the masters of seaborne trading in Europe, Asia, and Africa. In the beginning of the 18th century, most of the nations obtained, to a large extent, their supplies of cotton and silk fabric, spices, indigo, sugar, precious stones and many important works of art from India in exchange of gold and silver.
Indian art goods are known for their excellent quality. The skilled artisans of India manufactured varieties of goods which people in other parts of the world could not find elsewhere.
Data shows how the pandemic has affected the business of the shopkeepers and what all problems they will be facing after the reopening of shops. Many precautions are being taken after the reopening of shops so that everyone can be safe from this pandemic which is spreading in the whole world at a very fast pace. The effect of pandemic on them will continue in the near future in spite of the presence of the pandemic.
Another Data shows that the government is working on a relief package for shopkeepers, an official directly involved in drafting it said on conditions of anonymity, adding that shopkeepers have been hit hard by the lockdown.
The government should also consider a revision in the scheme launched last year to provide pension to small traders. The pension plan was aimed to give old age protection and social security to retail traders, shopkeepers and self employed persons whose annual income did not exceed Rs. 1.5 crore.
Laxman, owner of Vinayak Novelties, said that he is facing a lot of financial problems and has split off from regular customers. His business has gone to a loss of 50%. He is not able to procure his savings as earlier, they are barely able to arrange enough for their daily expenses.
Rehman, owner of K K Accessories said that he has a shortage of finances as there is no business and no customers after the reopening of shops after the pandemic and lockdown.
Nelam Sharma, owner of Sharma Store said that the main problem for them is that they are facing reduction of sales as the shops are open for a shorter period of time as compared to earlier. They are planning to begin selling their products online in the coming days. They are also hoping that after the end of covid their business will be able to recover from the losses suffered.
“I did my best to support my employees financially so that they wouldn’t have to leave Delhi. But after testing positive for Covid on June 25, 2020 the situation became worse for me. Then, the older workers requested more time to return from their villages, while others refused to join the work due to the fear of infection. I managed to get my shops open with the help of handcart pullers, but my godown is still closed and accounts haven’t been updated,” Rakesh Yadav, president of Federation of Sadar Bazar Association, said in an interview to the Times of India.
“Every day thousands of traders from India visit the wholesale market, but there is no testing done to determine whether they are infected or not. To prevent the situation from worsening beyond control, we have requested the authorities to install at least some rapid Antigen test vans to check outsiders,” Rajendra Sharma, president of Iron and Hardware Merchants Association, Teliwara pointed out in an interview to the Times of India.
“We can’t blame authorities for this. Though traders did a commendable job of sanitising the market, unless they remove material from the public spaces, social distancing won’t be possible. We have, however, requested the authorities to make a few lanes one way,” conceded Bharat Ahuja, president of the Delhi Electric Trade Association, Bhagirath Palace in an interview to the Times of India.
Suresh Mittal, a shopkeeper and an importer, said that the lockdown is directly affecting the merchants and the shopkeepers. “The most important thing is that the government should take an average of the GST paid by those registered taxpayers for the last three years and to pay that amount to the traders which can be recovered by the government next year. This is just an immediate relief extended to us and that can be recovered by the government,” he added.
Shopkeeper Satendra Agarwal said that more time will be required to deal with the problems arising out of the lockdown adding that “The government should give exemption to merchants for the delay in filing the GST and the deadline for filing income tax should also be extended to December.”
On Wednesday, traders in New Delhi Municipal Council [NDMC] areas requested its officials to launch a sanitization drive as hundreds of people visit markets everyday.
“Considering the increasing Covid cases, the authority should have launched the drive on its own at least in market areas with high footfall. If NDMC doesn’t act in two-three days then,the association will get it done through its resources,” said Amit Gupta, the executive member of New Delhi Traders Association in an interview to the Times of India.
Ashok Kalra of Sarojini Market Association said in an interview to the Times of India that teams of civil defence volunteers and NDMC were coming regularly to challan people not wearing masks but were not taking concrete action to sanitize and decongest the market, like last year. We have traders who got infected recently. Since the market has turned into a hub for hawkers and customers are also standing around them without following social distancing norms, it is important to sanitize these places.
North corporation mayor Jai Prakash said in an interview to the Times of India that they were finding it difficult to take sanitization vehicles in crowded areas and looking for an alternative. They will engage small tempos for spraying sanitizer.
In south Delhi, traders want the corporation to extend its sanitization drive at the houses and the neighbouring areas of the Covid patients to markets. Vijay Israni, vice-president of Green Park Market Association assured that shopkeepers were sanitizing shops for safety.
East Delhi Municipal Corporation mayor Nirmal Jain claimed that they have engaged their entire fleet of machines and workers from various departments for regular sanitization of places receiving heavy footfall.
“The shopkeepers are going through a lot of problems during covid like reduced sales, a stark decrease in the number of customers and the products in the shops are also available in small amounts. This is a difficult time for the shopkeepers but they have to keep patience, as the situation will get better and their business will be back and running as earlier,” said Janaki Ram, an economist.