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The COVID-19 pandemic has created havoc around the world with increasing cases and posing unprecedented challenges in our everyday lives. Consumers, MSMEs, self-employed workers and accountants are struggling to make ends meet and provide for their families with major loss of income, lack of adequate savings to weather the storm or poor access to health care. With lockdowns and quarantine in several countries across the globe, many small businesses have had to shut their doors for a prolonged period (which continues till date). While a lot of countries have taken several measures to contain the deadly virus, it still seems quite a challenge to overcome the possibilities of it spreading further.
As a result of some of the preventive measures taken by respective governments worldwide to control the pandemic, small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs have come out to be one the most vulnerable groups that have been directly affected by these measures. Whether it’s the preventive measures or the general chaos, COVID-19 has caused extreme disruption socially and economically. The subsequent lockdowns have posed several challenges for the Indian industry, which include liquidity crisis, lack of manpower and disruption of business operations; affecting continuity and sustainability of businesses. Virtually all major sectors of the economy such as aviation, hospitality, automobiles, real estate, construction, steel, and energy, among others, are facing the brunt of the pandemic.
While little can be done to avoid the damage to the economy, the government and various regulatory bodies in India are working in a war footing manner to minimize the negative impact of the pandemic on several fronts, including the functioning of businesses. They have allowed critical sectors of the economy, like goods transport, food processing, pharmaceutical raw materials, petroleum etc., to continue functioning. With a view to reduce the regulatory burden on firms, compliance requirements for businesses have also been cut down and rationalised drastically in several areas.
The authorities have been introducing specialised policies and relaxations for MSMEs, which have been one of the worst hit by the pandemic. Measures are being undertaken to reduce the borrowing cost and increase availability of credit to reduce cost of capital in this challenging time. Initiatives such as these will go a long way in ensuring sustainability and continuity of businesses during and post COVID-19. Since the MSMEs play a vital in the country’s economic growth and stability, there have several measures taken to lessen the impact of COVID-19.
Several other such initiatives have been undertaken and can be regulated in order to curb some damage in the long run.
Mr. Praveen Khandelwal, Secretary General Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) shares his thoughts on the ongoing situation and what safety measures are businesses taking to mitigate the risks caused by the pandemic.
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