Hit by severe economic losses, a trade association with lakhs of members across India has written to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman seeking extension on moratorium for repayment of loans and equated monthly installments (EMI). The moratorium was in place till 31st August.

Y Vijayan runs a printing press in Thiruvananthapuram. Though his work has resumed, the orders are not even a third of what they would get out on usual days. “I have just 25 per cent of orders when compared to the pre-covid times. I have had to lay off around 40 per cent of my staff. How do I keep them when there is no business? I have EMIs to pay as well”, Mr Vijayan, the general secretary of Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi and one of the signatories of the letter told NDTV.

A staff at the facility, Vijayan says he was paid on a monthly basis. But after they resumed work post lockdown, they are being paid daily wages, resulting in a drastic cut in household income he earns. “There are no weddings, ceremonies, no movies, no schools that meet physically, no theatres that are opening – these used to be the bulk source of orders for us”, he adds.

“Though few restrictions have been eased, even 50 per cent of activities that used to happen during the pre-Covid period are not going to begin soon. This means industry, trade and service sectors are going to face the challenges continuously for months to come…On behalf of the trading community we ask you to extend the moratorium for 6 months”, the letter from Bharatiya Udyog Vyapar Mandal reads.

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