Congress leader Ajay Maken. File photo
Congress leader Ajay Maken. File photo

Government should rescue small shop owners, provide level-playing field: Congress

ANI | Updated: Apr 18, 2020 16:53 IST


New Delhi [India], April 18 (ANI): The Congress on Saturday said that the Home Ministry should clarify if e-commerce companies have been allowed to trade non-essential items after April 20 and demanded that a level-playing field should be provided to small shop owners whose establishments are closed due to lockdown.
In a statement, Congress leader Ajay Maken said that as per the 6th Economic Census, retail trade is the most dominant economic activity outside the agriculture sector "factoring for 35.41 per cent of the total".
He said as far as employment generation is concerned, retail trade accounts for the one fifth of total employment in India and gives employment to around 2.72 crores of families.
"The traders have locked down their shops since last one month. Even before that, demonetisation, e-commerce competition and GST had broken their backbone" he said.
Maken said the retailers still will have to pay salaries, rent, fixed electricity charges, property taxes at commercial rates.
He said on top of this a Home Ministry order of April 15 has allowed e-commerce companies and their vehicles to ply after April 20.
"This order does not stop the e-commerce companies from trading non-essential items," he said.
He said the Home Ministry should clarify if e-commerce companies have been allowed to trade non-essential items. "And if they have been allowed then the government should take steps so that a level-playing field is provided for the locked down small shop owners," Maken said.
The Congress leader said the government should come forward for rescue of small shop owners who have to pay salaries, rent, fixed electricity charges and property taxes at commercial rates despite being locked down for weeks.
He said other states should follow the Punjab and Rajasthan model where fixed charges on electricity for non-domestic connections have been deferred by two months.
The extended lockdown will continue till May 3. The lockdown was imposed from March March 25 to prevent the spread of coronavirus. (ANI)

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