CAIT writes to FM for trade relief package, interest waiver

New Delhi: The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has written to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to seek a relief package for traders, including waiver on loan interest for lockdown period.

It stressed the need for a strong stimulus package for small businesses in the country in view of the packages announced for other sectors of the economy.

Noting that EMIs have been deferred for three months on certain loans, the traders body said in its letter: “Also the bank interest on CC (cash credit) /OD (overdraft account)/TL (term loan) or any kind of loan should be waived for the effected period of lockdown.”

hTe waiver would allow all Indians to survive with the reduced payouts and for businesses to survive the zero-revenue period, it pointed out.

“Care must be taken that the interest recovery is not spread out to later months or period and, similarly, banks may restrict interest payments on deposits to match the loss of interest on bank assets.

In the letter, CAIT National Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal also sought a cap on the residential and commercial rents for the lockdown period.

“Residential and commercial rents be capped at between 10-25 per cent during this period, to allow landlords to see through such period and yet allow individuals and businesses to see through the period of no revenues or low salaries.”

Further, the traders’ body has also sought the government permission to cap the salary of the workers in the segment.

It said that the burden of ensuring employees see through this period even when no revenue is accruing to the businesses does lie with the businessmen but the extent of such employee salaries need to be kept at such level that these very businesses are in a position to re-engage the workforce while the workforce is able to see through with respectable living.

“Accordingly, we propose: payment by employers of 50 per cent of regular salaries for those earning up to Rs 15,000 per month in gross salaries; 30 per cent for those earning up to Rs 50,000 per month and 25 per cent for those earning above Rs 50,000 per month; All those not covered directly under employment will have to be provided for separately,” it said.

CAIT also sought suspension of payment of other taxes and levies and compliances.

It said that the government may waive or defer taxes and levies during this period so that businesses may save on cash and reserves to meet the above said obligations at a time of little-to-no revenues. All recovery pressure by the tax officials of direct and indirect tax be kept on hold for a period of six months, it said.

Regarding power bills, it said that only actual consumption must be charged and no fixed charges to be levied for three months.

The traders’ body asked for an interest subvention at 3 per cent per annum in loans to MSMEs, as a measure to improve the sustainability in the market.

The present norms related to collateral security need to be relaxed in view of present
economic scenario, it added.

Talking of the recent relief measures announced by the government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Khandelwal said that relief given so far needs to be enhanced to take care of the Indian economy suffering from the slowdown, liquidity crunch and uncertainty.

“The government of India and various state governments have given different relief packages for various sectors of the economy, especially farmers in the past years. However, this time a strong stimulus package is needed for the small businesses who are the contributor of major chunk of revenue to the government treasury and are also the backbone of the Indian economy,” it said.

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