Traders con­sol­i­date as one vote bank to up bar­gain­ing power

Financial Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - FC BUREAU

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.

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