Traders and the micro, small and medium enterprises sector lost 35 lakh jobs in the last four-and-a-half years, a survey by the All India Manufacturers’ Organisation has said. The survey named demonetisation and the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax among the reasons for the job losses, reported The Indian Express.

A job loss of 43% was recorded in the traders segment, 32% in micro enterprises, 35% in the small segment and 24% in the medium segment, The Hindu reported, citing the survey, which covered over 34,000 representatives of the sector between October 1 and October 30. The organisation that conducted the survey represents over 3 lakh such industries.

“The worst is the elimination of self-employed categories such as tailors, cobblers, barbers, plumbers, and electricians,” the survey said. “The year 2015-’16 saw a growth in all areas of business due to high sentiment and expectations from the new leadership. It went down next year due to demonetisation and then again, due to GST implementation.”

The report said that the plastic, matches, crackers, dyeing units, stitching units, stone units, tanneries, job work units and printing sectors, which employ unorganised labour on a large scale, were the most affected. The number of firms making profits has declined substantially since 2014, it added.

The organisation’s national president, KE Raghunathan, said that the survey indicates that the TMSME sector is in a “critical condition” and that the government should consider the problem “with a lot more seriousness and urgency”. The survey recommended immediate assistance to the housing, textiles, automobiles, power, match industries, stone, plastic, tannery and consumer products sectors.