30 Apr What is the most common factor prevalent in Lockdown?
There is one factor that is common among people from all walks of life – Uncertainty.
I have talked to various people during the last 3 weeks– be it Daily Wage laborers, Subziwallahs, Company employees, Start-Up owners, Entrepreneurs, and Business Owners. There was one factor that was common among people from all walks of life, and that was — Uncertainty!!\
Uncertainty among Daily Wage Labourers
Daily wage laborers are clueless about where their next wage would come from. Those who have chosen to NOT go back to their homes in U.P., Bihar, Jharkhand, etc. are the ones worse affected as they are uncertain about their next wage. Although few NGO’s are helping them off and on for ration and some providing cooked food. But this help comes off and on and is not a regular relief. Some not for profit Organizations are also facing a dearth of funds to provide meals, ration, or cooked every day. There are some individuals who are, however, helping people around their homes to others in need.
Although Governments are helping their citizens and have provided direct relief to the bank accounts of people Below Poverty Line and those who have registered on the Government websites, the amount is so less that it cannot help them survive for a month. As one laborer asked me, “How much would INR 1000 last, Sir?” I had no answer to his query.
Uncertainty among Employees
Employees employed in the Private Sector are some of the worst affected as not only private sectors have slashed the salaries but some industries have even stopped the salaries outrightly. The employee’s concern being as they have not worked during the whole month of April, they cannot get a full salary. They are somehow meeting their expenses from their savings and the coffers are getting exhausted fast.
What I was most surprised about was, about the luxury sector like Hotel Industry, Gem and Jewellery, and Real Estate. Many hotels have though retained their employees, the air of Uncertainty seems to flow through the corridors of the Luxury hotels as many are contemplating Job Loss in starting in May/June. Travel & Tourism along with the Hotel industry is one of the worst-hit industries.
An employee I had spoken with in Gem and Jewellery industry was literally crying as he didn’t get even the March salary due to the lockdown and has since not got the April salary as well. Uncertainty not just prevailed over his job but Industry as a whole. Even if the lockdown opens up in May, the luxury products are probably would the last ones to sell again. Some feel that it might take almost a year for the industry to recover and come back on its feet again.
One exception, I found was amongst IT employees. Now IT has been at the forefront of this Corona crisis and IT people are working from home and keeping the banking systems, stock trading systems, hospitals, Internet, phone services running non-stop. In fact, Capgemini and Cognizant announce a hike in salaries recently.
Uncertainty among Business Owners
The worst-hit sector is Restaurant Owners and with a recent study showing that almost 40% of Restaurants face a complete lockout and they won’t be able to open shop after the lockdown is over, it comes as a nasty surprise during these testing times. The food industry has taken a toll and a very bad one at that. There is an industry report that about 40% of the Restaurants would face a lockout after the lockdown is over. Business owners and Entrepreneurs are either slashing salaries –25-30% or putting employees on the bench with no salaries.
These are tough times for everyone and Business Owners are not untouched from all this. Entrepreneurs who would be more creative, more innovative, and business-centric are the ones who’ll survive. This is a given, that after Corona, the equation of doing business would change completely. It would be on a completely different tangent, altogether. In fact, History books might be re-written as Pre-Corona and Post-Corona era.
Let’s rise again like the Phoenix, from the Ashes, once again. Start Working Again !!!