Traders consolidate as one vote bank to up bargaining power
TRADERS’ associations are launching a massive national campaign from February 1 to consolidate the trader community votes under the slogan, ‘One Nation-One TraderOne Vote.’ The campaign, they believe, will enhance their bargaining power with governments and political parties.
“The political spectrum of the country has so far grossly neglected the trading community… but now it is high time for the traders across the country to bring an end to this system," said a resolution taken by the National Governing Council Meeting of the Confederation of All-India Traders (Cait) being held at Bhopal. About 200 prominent trade leaders from 24 states attended the council meeting.
At the meeting, trade leaders forcefully said that if vote bank politics has its way, the trading community will not hesitate in converting itself into a vote bank. Efforts will be made to ensure that traders vote as one block in the Lok Sabha polls, irrespective of their political leanings. ‘Trader First-Political Party Afterwards” will be the slogan of the national campaign. “We will demand election tickets from different political parties for trade leaders active in respective political party,” said Cait national president BC Bhartia and secretary general Praveen Khandelwal.
According to Cait, there are about seven crore small businesses in the country, providing livelihood and employment to about 45 crore people and generating an annual business of about Rs 42 lakh crore. After agriculture, retail trade is the second largest employment providing sector, they say.
“No importance is given to trading community in political discourse. Government policies crushing small traders have become the order of the day and political fraternity is least bothered about this sorry state of affairs.
The Lok Sabha polls are an opportunity for us to underline our importance in the Indian economy, and we are gearing ourselves for the cause,” said the trade leaders. Trader bodies want the government to look into issues like simplification of GST, FDI in retail trade and in e-commerce, non-availability of seamless easy finance to traders, archaic laws, harassment and victimisation at the hands of bureaucracy, absence of any national or state level trade policy and absence of any viable mechanism to provide financial assistance to traders.