Govt needs to do something for the small businesses

Diksha Dwivedi
·5-min read

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6,

Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11

Part 12


4.10 pm

Mumbai, India

I haven’t written in two days because it’s not easy to wake up everyday these days, without a purpose.

It’s something I’ve noticed, if only you can give yourself a purpose to get through the following days during this lockdown, you’ll be in a good place mentally.

It could be you writing a book or starting up for the very first time and making it your purpose or goal till the lockdown ends. Even if it’s just an experiment - it at least gives you a reason to wake up every morning.

Giving your life a purpose today is more important than ever. And I’m not saying you should put pressure on yourself, the purpose could be as little as learning how to make chai during this time so you’ll practice making it more.

Sadly, many of us in this country don’t have the time or the luxury to think of that purpose right now. Like, the business owners who are figuring how to make their companies survive while also paying the full-time employees salaries for lesser work, out of goodwill and compulsion imposed on us by the government.

Clearly, the COVID-19 lockdown has not only spread mental health issues, poverty, unemployment like wildfire, but has also led to a shutdown of many small businesses, services, etc. And this will become worse in the coming weeks if no real action is taken sooner rather than later.

The other day I randomly messaged a fellow entrepreneur friend to check on him and learnt that his morning began with laying off 20 of his oldest employees. He sounded heartbroken because the company valued those employees but they just couldn’t pay them anymore since revenue fell to zero overnight.

The dilemma today for some business owners is coming down to be - shut the company or layoff aggressively to delay the shutdown.

And this is just half a month into the lockdown, I can’t imagine what will happen if this misery continues for a while longer. In any case, the loss is the company’s - companies that run the economy in a big way.

Today, I’ve been thinking of my single mother all day. In the chaos of this lockdown, my halted projects and my company, I forgot to think of how she was dealing with things as the proprietor of a petrol pump - which is thankfully named under the ‘essentials’ list. But does that help? No.

My mother has to continue paying her full-time employees even though her sales have dropped close to zero. Nobody needs a refill of their fuel tanks these days, do they? And since my mother’s petrol pump belongs to a government controlled agency, she has specific quality and quantity requirements, for example, a certain number of employees that are required in the morning and at night.

They have surprise infections, you see. I’m sure she didn’t give this lockdown a thought when she was pushed to hire enough employees to meet the company requirements.

What will my mother do in such a scenario? She’d stress, and she doesn’t have her two daughters next to her at this time either. My sister and I are in Mumbai, and she’s in Delhi.

Not like she’s had the easiest life since we lost our father to the Kargil war in 1999 and now, we have this.

I wish the government could have announced some relief for business owners too, in the same breath as their request to all employers to continue paying wages to their employees.

And no, ministers taking a 30% cut in their salaries is not a relief for us, the public. It’s a relief for the on-the-brim-of-dying economy. For the Indian economy to survive, SMBs need to survive.

Yes, there are a few people in this country, mainly those who work at MNCs and unicorns, who have nothing to worry about at this point, because they are probably saving way more than what they’re spending these days while they comfortably work from home.

No travel expense, no pubbing expense, no shopping expense, basically lesser the luxury, more the savings for them. And so the people whose voices are actually heard in this country will not talk about the issues at hand - they’ll say #DilSeThankYou and clap, dance, light up things - do anything that they’re told to do today to stay active on their social media.

However, as much as I wish it was, it’s not the solution.

I hope our government realizes that it’s the minority (celebrities, white collar workers, etc.) in this country that’s not getting affected by the lockdown financially, everyone else is finding it difficult to wake up in the morning to face another fearful day of the lockdown.

Everyday seems like a problem solving question for many of us, at the moment.

We all need a purpose to get through this time and mine is slowly becoming to protect my mother and her business from COVID-19. What’s yours?

This journal entry is for mummy and a quick prayer to God, to not bring upon us another tragedy in this lifetime. We’ve had enough and so have many people in this country.

With love and hope,

Your pen friend (in the time of corona)

Tell us what is your #LifeWithCorona story in the Comments section

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