With Covid-19 cases standing at 2.7 million and 50K+ deaths at present, India is
currently dealing with its share of the crisis. In this situation of uncertainty Indian economy has
also received a major hit. With normal hustle bustle on the street becoming an age old myth, and
crowds the most feared aspect of social interactions, businesses thriving on the same are on the
verge of going bankrupt. However not everyone is facing a Mayday per se and for some this has
been rather beneficial with increased profit and boasted demand.
Your favorite places not faring well?
After college hangouts at cafes, a Saturday evening dinner at a fancy restaurant, a
relaxing movie date at the theatres or a buying surge at your favorite shopping centers have all but turned into a nightmare with the ongoing pandemic; and so has the businesses of your
favorite places. With people fearing crowd and busy streets, these businesses are facing their
worst time of the year. Thanks to online delivery apps that some businesses are still able to
sustain however it is no wonder that majority of them has had to remove their employees and
start praying for better days. Even with online delivery services the demand of ordered fast food has decreased significantly with increasing health concerns among people despite some
desperate attempts on part of these firms to assure people of the safety.
However a different story lies for the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industries
which are faring quite well amid the pandemic. These industries deal with the production of
consumer packaged items with might be durable goods, non durable goods or services. The
cookies you have been stoking up for mid night craving, or the fresh veggies piled in your fridge or the soap which you now hold more valuable than all your gems are some of the products belong to FMCG industry. With pandemic fear and lockdown uncertainty stock piling of these products had greatly increased eventually leading to shortage of overall materials. An increased demand for indulgence items like cakes, cookies, chips, chocolates etc has been observed primarily due to teens being stuck at their homes. Even certain medicines which can be bought without prescription like aspirin or pain relievers, cleaning products, stationary supplies among others are part of FMCG which are doing just fine. Primary difficulty faced by these industries during the prior periods was the transportation and delivery of products and currently the production of the same might suffer a drawback due to reduced availability of workers.
“e” for everything?
Dream of a Digital India is perhaps not presumptuous and this is becoming a tough
reality as days continue to pass amid the shutdown. A few years back what sounded like hard to implement might just materialize itself due to the current demand. With online content
consumption on the rise, digital platforms and service providers are having the busiest days.
Entertainment platforms like Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime, and Disney Hotstar among
others are expected to have a profit boom. Similarly digital platforms for conferences and video sharing are ruling the markets with increased demand from educational and occupational sectors excluding the personal demands to reduce social isolation. From e-learning to e-health the Indian economy is expected to face a boom of internet and technology. The hardly valued platforms like e-pathshala have faced an increased reach and to fix the current lag in education the government is expected to digitalize all educational content in the coming days. Along with this let’s not forget the sector of e-commerce which is in observing its full bloom. It is difficult to imagine the disaster one would have to face without the ability to complete majority of your transactions online. True, deliverymen has to bear the brunt of it but if not for these services our daily living would not fare as well. With increased digitization comes the increased risk of Botnet and hence Botnet cleaning centers are going to be in great demand. In short, brace your gadgets for they have a long way to go.
Healthcare and its hassles?
If any service is the most priced in this exceptional situation, that will certainly be the
healthcare sector. Sanitizers, soaps and medicines are currently in high demand and so are the increased cases of forgery. Similarly the services of healthcare professionals are in high demand with low supply as the medical infrastructure capacity face continued risk of collapse. With the situation getting worse India is expected to struggle with the availability of ventilators and so the government has instructed several automakers in the country including Maruti Suzuki, Mahindra, Tata Motors and Hyundai to develop the same. Several firms like Arvind Mills, JCT Mills Phagwara, Amare Safety, Mumbai-based Sure Safety, Delhi-based Sai Synergy, Manchanda, Shree Healthcare, Chennai etc have been producing PPEs or personal protective equipment, surgical gloves, goggles, hand sanitiser, clinical dump bags, blood and fluid spill kits, mask fit test kits and thermometers.
Grass root problems and shock to remnants
Almost all of us will agree that this situation has been a great boon to people from lower
strata of the economy including daily wage earners. This section is perhaps the worst hit of all due to eradication of their employment opportunities. Small business firms have suffered a major setback which is not likely to be revived for the coming future. Street vendors have been unemployed for a while and migrating to other jobs which are in demand. With relaxation of lockdown rules these vendors are getting some relief but the demand still lingers around the floor. With restriction on transportation, laborers are unable to commute to the workplaces and those who are involved in transportation services are caught between fear of infection and unemployment. This section is more likely to face increased unemployment in the coming future.
It is not an exaggeration to say that Covid-19 has successfully broken the backbone of the
international economy and this is the test of survival of the fittest. Flexibility is the key to sustain livelihood in this circumstance and those businesses which will be able to digitalize their services has better chances to float among others. The world is looking at an exceptional circumstance and requires exceptional solutions to the current problems.