October 18, 2021
Prerana Priyambada
Program Coordinator, RestartIndia
Blogs /

Did we UNLOCK completely?

India has a varied demographic, and the contrast can be experienced even within a span of a few hundred kilometres as we move across the length and breadth of the country. With a huge population and vast ethnicity, it's impossible to standardize anything. So who caters to the changing demands of this gigantic populace? Huge conglomerates? 

No! It’s the micro and nano businesses, which are the unorganized sector and contribute to 90% of India’s business. We might overlook them, but they are the real backbone of the Indian economy.

Last year, when the world was witnessing a hit of the global pandemic, everyone was forced to restrict themselves indoors. The only way to fight the invisible enemy was by social distancing. To an extent we were able to protect ourselves from the virus, but not from the ensuing problems. We still had to step out for essentials. Our buying patterns changed, there was no more discretionary shopping. Luxury goods saw a steep fall in demand as income levels plummeted. Handmade products died out, as shoppers limited themselves to just buying groceries. The diversity that India once boasted of no longer prevailed. Everything shut down!

Over time, we started opening up - people started stepping out onto the streets, and shops were “allowed” to function. Vaccinations have eased up travel and movement, and in some places, the positivity rate looks favorable. But the question I want to ask now is have we really “unlocked”?

Although we aren’t under a formal lock-down the virus still looms large and the repercussions of staying indoors have changed people’s habits for the long term. There are no tourists, no festivals being celebrated with pomp, no functions in massive auditoriums, no places of worship open to the public, no parks for children to play in, no schools open for children to go to. While we may seem like we can live without this, for the time being, there are millions of small businesses whose daily lives depended on these activities. 

All the small businesses that were one step ahead of our needs had just vanished. For these nano businesses, the enemy is no longer the virus, but the loss of livelihood. The upside is that a few of these small businesses have also evolved to keep up with the changes around them. Some of the notable changes we’ve seen are to stock essential goods along with non-essentials to make sure the store functions throughout, adding home delivery services, keeping in touch with customers via easy digital means, etc. But many businesses, particularly in the deep pockets of India, are still finding it difficult to restart - activities like handicrafts, tailoring, tourism, candle making, and many others are reeling under the shock of the pandemic even today. 

We as a progressive society need to find a common ground where we all survive together. We need to shift our focus and help these small businesses by giving them support. At the same time, the nano businesses themselves should adapt to the new ways of doing business. 

We at #RestartIndia, have taken a pledge to help these nano and micro businesses by training them and upgrading their skills because we understand the strategic importance of these businesses. We have unlocked ourselves and are extending our help to these micro and nano businesses. If you know anyone who needs such help or if you can contribute to help them drop a message on our website to collaborate with us!

We need to ensure India has UNLOCKED completely!

About Author : 

Prerana Priyambada, Program Coordinator - #RestartIndia Team

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