India – today

The world has taken a huge toll on the pandemic. COVID19 has left the nations crippling, whether it be their health infrastructure, economic sectors, or manpower. The global lockdown imposed has irrefutably slowed the spread of the disease but had a humongous cost paid by the common people. The health infrastructure has been overwhelmed by the sheer amount of victims and at the same time, the global economy has shown an unprecedented plunge. Developing nations are on the frontline of facing the wrath of the pandemic. Already lass with feeble health infrastructure, slow growth of the GDP, and a colossal amount of informal sector workers, India is one of them. All of its sectors have been devastatingly hit by the pandemic except for the medical industry (in terms of capital gains). At the beginning of the year IMF already projected a truncated growth for India and now due to the lockdown imposed the situation seems to worsen than being reported. A report published by the  National Restaurant Association of India’s (NRAI) Food Services in 2019, hospitality was one of the most promising sectors but still, in a recent press release, they called the recent crisis as  “a battle to retain our mere existence.” Restaurants are already a high-risk business because the landlords demand a fixed rent which along with manpower consumes 40-45% of the restaurant’s revenue. Another problem is due to the foodservice aggregators since they charge as high as 20-30% of the commission and thus can be termed as digital landlords. Foodservice aggregators pose a threat not only to the restaurant owners but also to the delivery boys. Already they were crushed down by the targets provided by the companies and now in such volatile situations, they are doing a hard time to make ends meet. Already many restaurants are shut down because of their inability to pay rent and their workers due to the loss of confidence of customers. People are more skeptical than ever of the hygiene standards practiced by the shop. Moreover now restaurants have to focus more on the implementation of hygiene and physical distancing protocols and rebuilding confidence at the same time. Practicing social distancing in coffee shops, restaurants is implausible because going out to such places is itself a social exercise. To enjoy solitude, one would go to the most crowded coffee shop because humans are social animals, we enjoy the company of people. The night life, pubs and bars have also being affected indiscriminately, the restaurants have been provided with a slight relaxation by opening up but the pubs still don’t have the permission to operate thus heavily impacting the industry. 2 months of permanent lockdown and intermittent lockdowns have hugely impacted the day time industries but the night time is still at its lowest, they are unable to operate even after 4 months into the pandemic. The construction structure was also one of the most promising sectors employing 49.5million people and this figure is the one which is registered (formal workers). Most of the job data is missing because of the informal workers so whatever figures you can see here, the real data is much higher and thus plight also is unseen and much devastating. As seen in the lockdown how these lifelines of the cities were left on their own. Due to the lockdown, most of the migrant workers returned home while walking on a path of thorns (literally) and they would like to stay at their homes rather than coming back to the cities  The real estate sector has also taken a great hit, already the sector was facing a crisis due to project delays, regulatory changes, and low sales in the last few years. And now due to the ongoing pandemic, most companies and organizations have proceeded to implement policies of zero contact meetings and no visitors which poses a great threat to the sector as no one wants to invest in an unsurveyed area. Many of the jobs are already lost and it is being predicted that the situation is going to worsen. People now believe that in tough times, home is a place where the safest environment is available Due to the unavailability of labor, the costs of building homes are going to shoot up, bringing more uncertainty with it. The manufacturing sector also saw a staggering loss, already the automobile sector was facing tremendous losses and now with the lockdown imposed the manufacturing units had to shut down. Some units that opened up after unlock, had to cut down their workforce to make their ends meet. Many of the employees have been credited with truncated salaries or no salaries at all for the months of lockdown. Many in the sector have been pressurized to ask for unpaid leaves and forced termination.We are living in a world of uncertainties more than ever, the volatile situation needs to be handled carefully and innovatively. Innovative measures, lessons from other countries who have revitalized their economy, ethics are required along with huge investments to get back on track if not grow. Doing all this with fingers crossed is the best we can do post-pandemic.

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