When coronavirus hit the nation, nobody could have foreseen this grim reality. Everyone’s life has been uprooted and affected by working people, unemployed youth, students, or even young kids. While some suffer less than others, everyone has had to make necessary changes in their lifestyle as we learn to live in these new standard masks.
But one section of India that has suffered deep wounds that might take years to heal is the small businesses. According to a survey, 70% of Indian companies will take more than a year to recover from the lockdown and reach a pre-pandemic state.
We need to understand how small businesses and startup companies are going through this crisis. 90% of India’s workforce right now is at high job risk and insecurity. And it is no secret how many have been laid off during the last year.
Who comes under small business?
Anyone self-employed can come under a small business owner tag. Be it the street food vendor near your house who couldn’t open his shop for a year. Roadside jewellery or inflated pool sellers. Instagram shop owners or anyone who has no essential service employment. The lockdown has inarguably hit them the hardest and deepest. Even today, as the nation stays indoors, there seems no exact date in the future when they can get their businesses up and running again.
Although people came together in helping their house help such as drivers, maids etc. By paying them their salaries. Nothing majority was done to help those with a business in crisis and no source of income.
Most popularly, clothing and shoe businesses have suffered a lot. With clothes being a non-essential item, not many people have been up to going and shopping in these times. Small business owners speak about their problems; many had to stop producing new collections, and shop owners who bought a massive quantity of material face losses. Not only this, those who have been able to get orders are unable to ship their products. Most clothing businesses rely on shipping companies such as FedEx or partnership with Amazon/Myntra. With the government restricting the sale of non-essential items on these apps, small businesses have faced many hardships in making ends meet.
The exact number of self-employed small business owners isn’t available, making it harder to grasp how serious this problem is. 51% of Indians are self-employed, according to a 2014 report, out of which 95% are disorganized and unable to make well profits. The pandemic has made it even more challenging and grimmer.