Federation of Retailer Association of India (FRAI), a representative body of about 4 crore micro, small and medium retailers from across the country with membership of 34 Retail Associations from Northern, Southern, Eastern and Western part of the country. FRAI represents the interests of the poorest of the poor in the country and raise issues which impact their employment opportunities and also render help to such people who are unable to express their views. FRAI members sustain their livelihood by selling goods of daily needs which are demanded by general public like biscuits, soft drinks, mineral water, cigarettes, bidi, pan etc. in the neighbourhood. The profit of these micro retailers in selling these essential products works out to about Rs 15,000 per month which is barely adequate to feed two square meals a day to their family members.
The closure of such shops during the current lockdown on account of Coronavirus has completely stopped the daily inflow of the petty retailers’ income.
Speaking on the issue, Sh. Ram Asre Mishra, President, Federation of Retailers Association of India, said “We would humbly like to appeal to the Hon’ble Prime Minister to kindly empathise with the hardships being faced by our poor and helpless individual members and allow them to open their shops immediately. We also appeal to the Hon’ble Prime Minister to immediately announce an economic package to compensate the losses of the petty retailers in their daily income under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana announced by the Government”. Adding to his plea, he said, “We are very sure that this poor-pro Government will sympathetically consider our plea on humanitarian ground”.
“While big grocery shops selling essential commodities are allowed to operate during the lockdown, why should our small shopkeeper brothers, who also sell similar goods of daily public needs, be deprived to earn their livelihood” Sh. Mishra, further added.
March to June are the important months for small retailers to earn extra money and save. Sale of all the products sold from their shops picks up during this period. Unfortunately, this lockdown has come at the time of the peak months for them and they have already given up the hope to make extra income during the peak season. These poor individuals and their families are now facing certain poverty and survival challenges.
All the capital of these poor retailer is tied up in the stocks of essential products which are remaining unsold in their shops because of the lockdown, they are now having to dip into small savings to survive in order to purchase food to support their family members. Most of our individual members have now depleted their entire savings and are on the verge of starvation.