India is a country that is going down the hill at the moment because of the virus. If not from the virus, but from the issues prevalent in the economy. The economic conditions aren’t favorable right now and the people of the country are helpless about it. People don’t have jobs, don’t have customers and don’t have money. The lower middle class and the lower class isn’t able to sustain themselves and feed their family. It has come to a point where there is no coming back. During times like, hope is the only driving factor that keeps one going. I hope for a better day and for a better life as an individual. People from all the sectors of the economy must work hard in the right manner to make it work in the end and to not reach the doomsday. We would be talking about various sectors of the economy and how they can deal with after the lockdown to get a push and function with all their might.
Agricultural sector: more than half of India is into agriculture. It is the primary sector of any country and helps the country to build a foundation with trust and belongingness. States which produce the agricultural products help all the other states to feed their people so as to maintain a relationship all over the country. Let us talk about what happened to this sector during the lockdown.
The seasonally adjusted IHS Markit India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 27.4 in April. This is the lowest reading of PMI in 15 years. It clearly shows the state of this sector right now which accounts for about 85% of the people.
Migrant laborers left, there weren’t adequate people to work. The crops which were grown weren’t harvested because of a lack of resources. The zamindar is using some of the produce to feed his family but the remaining is just rotting away. Even when the harvest was cut, due to the supply chain issues, it did not reach the markets and wasn’t sold. This is a never-ending cycle and has equipped itself in our agricultural sector.
The government has to ensure that all food-grains that farmers want to sell in the market is picked up and taken forward. This is essential because this sector contributes about 16% to the GDP and provides employment to over 55% of the workforce in our nation.
When the people will start working, with more production and more workforces, agriculture requires proper management by the government. If 100% procurement happens, it will revive private consumption demand, which was originally responsible for the economic slowdown in India when there was no issue related to the virus.
Along with all this, special economic relief packages must be announced for the formers. Special packages must be announced for the people who are into perishable products. Also, the payment to be made through the PM Kisan installment to the farmers had witnessed disruption at the local levels owing to lockdown, which should be ironed out so that the farmers get relief in the ongoing harvest season and do not feel that they have been abandoned.
Retail sector: The retail industry is the second biggest sector of our nation and employs over 400 million people and has expenses of about $70 billion alone. About 90% of India’s stock is vended through 17 million shops comprising everything between a high-grade shop and a paan shop to a kiryana and stationery shop employing an estimated 30 million people. During times like now, the retail sector isn’t functioning properly because the norms of social distancing cannot be followed by each and every retailer out there. So, when the expenses are so high on the fixed side, how will this industry survive this third phase of the nationwide lockdown? The people indulged in this sector are not looking to generate profits right now, they are just trying to make the ends meet and stay afloat amidst this crisis.
People of this sector can only move forward if the government works for them. There needs to be some support from the higher authorities otherwise this sector will just break and not be able to function. All over the world, relief measures have been floated with regards to the retail sector but in India, nothing has been announced right now. Time is ticking and so are the losses. The losses have accounted for a huge amount of money. There has been a loss of about $30 billion in one fortnight. Looking at the current scenario, this sector might take up at least six months to revive itself. Policies, exemptions, and support from the government is an urgent requirement.
Only 5% of apparel retailers and makers will be able to sustain themselves and pay the salaries for the month of June. If nothing happens, it will lead to unemployment at a very high rate and that will be an alarming situation for the country.
Construction sector: the construction sector has been hit by this lockdown. People can not move out and construction activities continuing is like a dream. This sector is very important for the economy. It builds and creates the nation for a better tomorrow. Provides you houses, hospitals and roads. According to a survey, migrant workers occupy about 80% of the total workforce in this sector. However, due to the lockdown this migrant workforce has gone back to their home town. People are helpless and have no vision for a new and better tomorrow. There is lack of motivation to return back to the urban sector and work. As per the latest circular, movement of the goods has been allowed from one place to another but the question is that even when the raw materials are transferred, who will process them? This sector does not have any workforce right now. It is said that a phased reopening of the economy will enable an upward course of growth and will decrease the overall estimated loss of Rs 26,000 crore per day, faced by the Indian market. The government must help this sector and get the workers back to work before the whole sector collapses and refuses to come back up. Guidelines must be issued for contractors and workers for the betterment and fair treatment of every individual in this sector.
Gas sector: Indian state retailers sold very less in this April if compared to the last April. There was a fall of about 50%. The vehicles aren’t moving, people are staying indoors and no one is purchasing petrol or diesel. This sector is one of the worst hit sectors right now. Companies like have about 90% stake in the sales of fuel in India. The gas sales dropped by 61% in the initial days of April. There are various aspects which come under the gas sector. Petrol, diesel, jet fuel and LPG. The demand for LPG is increasing but at the same time for jet fuel, it is 94% less. Retailers sold 21% more LPG in these days as people are staying indoors. India is also giving free cooking gas to the poor for three months to help them sustain this lockdown.
The whole sector can’t be reformed on the basis of just one component. The government must look into this matter and help the other departments to do something otherwise this sector will fall down. The government can help the owners of these petrol pumps to give salaries and store the petrol but what has our government done? They have increased the prices of the oil at a time when no one is purchasing it and the oil stocks are going in negative. There needs to a reform in this department.
The country of 1.3 billion can not go ahead if the reliefs come after fifteen days. It has been almost two months and now is the time when the government must come forward to help the industrialists and important sectors. Everyone is living in the dark hoping that tomorrow is a better day. This uncertainty for help needs to go away because the government is for the people and by the people! By the people is done, we hope that for the people also works out in the near future.