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Impact of COVID-19 on Operations of Different Sectors

by Shweta Bansal - 29 May, 2020, 12:00 12591 Views 0 Comment

Introduction

Coronavirus diseases seem to be originated in Wuhan Province of China in December 2019 and spread across many provinces of China and to the whole world within a short span of time. Coronavirus is a disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 that can affect the nose, throat, windpipe and lungs. Now, it has become a pandemic and WHO has named this virus as SARS-COV-2 and the disease is called COVID-19. This pandemic became uncontrollable as no vaccine has been discovered yet. This pandemic has forced nations to remain in lockdown and stopped all the religious, cultural and socio-economic activities all over the world. Thousands of people have lost their lives and lakhs of people got infected.

Impact of COVID-19 on the Following Sectors

Unorganised Sector 

This pandemic affected workers of unorganised sector mostly who are daily wager or those working in Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) rand left them jobless, and rapidly increased the unemployment rate, left no alternate income source. Everyone is witnessing their painful migration on foot and cycles to their homes but now some sort of help has been extended by states by way of running some special trains. After lockdown, giving them employment is a very necessary step, lack of which forced them to leave their home. They may not die from corona but will die definitely from starvation.

Agriculture and Food Processing

Agriculture is considered the backbone of the Indian economy. As Inter-state transportation services have shut down, farmers are unable to sell their crops in the market. They are incurring huge losses and forced to throw out their crops. They don’t have any other source of income. The poultry sector which is the fastest-growing subsector of the Indian economy has also incurred huge losses due to social media where misinformation has been spread by correlating the infection of COVID-19 with the consumption of meat and poultry products. Though the government is providing a helping hand still their conditions are miserable.

E-Commerce

The government has issued a special advisory for maintaining social distancing to prevent the community transfer of COVID-19 and asked the corporates to allow their employees to work from home. The nationwide lockdown will tremendously affect the operations of the E-commerce industry especially at a time when there is a huge demand for home delivery of goods.  Their losses can be recovered if the government brings some policies like loss-making E-commerce companies can get a GST refund and can grant the permission of some operation with restrictions.

Education

Due to the outbreak of the pandemic, most schools and educational institutions have closed down to prevent the transfer of disease among children. Though, we are safeguarding them, this will also negatively impact their academic progress. Now, we need to shift our focus from traditional to the virtual classroom. There are many technology-enabled educational institutions that are providing live classes like byjus, extramarks etc. This pandemic forced the Government to boost edtech sector. COVID-19 has changed the way of learning in the long term. Higher education has also got affected as universities and colleges are shut down, most higher education institutions are not equipped with digital technology. There will be a delay in the admission process, as most of the entrance exams are scheduled around April and May. Despite online education, platforms helped students in learning but if this could continue then there can be seen drastic unemployment in the education sector.

Tourism and Hospitality Sector

The revenue of the tourism sector got down due to a strict ban on both domestic and international flights. Even many tourists got themselves cancelled. Meetings, conferences and major international events got cancelled like mobile world congress, Olympic, Wimbledon, Cannes international film festival and Facebook F8 which lead to huge losses. Earlier there were a huge number of Indian travellers to both domestic and international destinations but now nobody is willing to go anywhere. According to the Indian Association of tour operators, the hotel, aviation and travel sector together may incur a loss of around 8,500 crores due to the restriction imposed by the Indian government on the movement of flights.

Healthcare Industry

COVID-19 has exposed the vulnerabilities of healthcare systems. As we know that access to healthcare is a fundamental right but the fear of COVID-19 everywhere has in turn affected may people’s primary healthcare provisions. This pandemic has made impossible for the pregnant women to visit obstetrician for prenatal checkups and instead of this, opting for telemedicine. Many hospitals are mainly focusing only on COVID-19 patients and due to this, they are ignoring other people who are suffering from some other major problems like cancer and found it difficult to get proper treatment. If this will be continued the death rate from corona will be lower than the death rate from other diseases. This pandemic has taught a lesson that temples, statues and museums are not a necessary requirement but the hospital with world-class infrastructure is. Even there can be seen an adverse impact on the profitability of medical device manufacturer who imports consumables, disposables and capital equipment from china.

Defense and Security

The COVID-19 impacted the supply chains and production/manufacturing facilities of defense companies. As they have to depend on different components on different sources located in affected countries. This will lead to a decrease in demand for defense equipment. The current scenario is not even good for business development as we know that many high-value procurement programmes were finalised during defense shows which are now cancelled. Military exercises, which expose foreign equipment and their capabilities to the prospective buyer also affected business development as many countries like the USA, UK have cancelled travel plans, deployments and exercise for troops. Even the assembled equipment which are ready for dispatch are also held up due to the lockdown of airspace. Due to non-dispatchment on time their sales value will substantially reduce which in turn will affect the balance sheet of the manufacturing companies. COVID-19 has taught a lesson to defense industry that they need to explore the different aspects of risk planning. They need to shift themselves toward technological platforms or start using an unmanned system.

In the end, it can be said that almost every sector got affected from the pandemic including aviation where all domestic and international flights got cancelled sports where cancellation of events lead to huge loss to organisers, textile sector, as India depend for its raw material on Chinese textile factories which are shut down, even the revenue of transport sector got affected due to ban on public transport including metros and railways. The government has announced a package of twenty lakh crores to stimulate the economy. Post COVID-19, the focus of the government should be on increasing the employment level, provide financial help to industrial units and streamlining the GST regime to ensure ease of doing business. Each and every country need to find the way of living with corona as the vaccine is not likely to be available for mass use for at least a year or two.

Shweta Bansal
Shweta Bansal
Author is pursuing Masters in Economics from IGNOU and Research Intern in Global Counter Terrorism Council.

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