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  • Raghav Sand

After Shocks and Green Shoots in the Times of Pandemic

Since end of March life as we knew it, has been turned upside down. No individual has been spared by the effects of lockdowns. The degree of disturbance has varied to some extent and pre-pandemic life is not coming back soon. Interaction through video calls has increased manifold. From education to business meetings, everything moved online; even the government had to catch up with the changing times.

Winners and Losers

Anyone who did not have access to internet and smart phone had to content with limited interaction. Most families do not have multiple internet enabled devices, hence they are living in oblivion. E-learning platforms have seen surge in new subscribers and this has also led to new players entering the field. E-commerce firms have been doing steady business after lifting of restrictions on transporting non-essentials. These corporations have added new consumers with most of them opting for groceries and electronic devices such as laptops and tabs. The section of society which seems to have missed out, are those who lived paycheck to paycheck.

Saving Grace

Job losses and insolvency among corporates, has forced liquidation of savings. Some have taken the recourse of retirement savings, while others redeemed mutual fund holdings. Data released by Association of Mutual Funds in India for the month of August showed a similar trend. Net inflow entered negative territory for the first time since economic activity took a hit due to lockdown. Redemption of units outpaced mobilization of funds by a massive amount of ₹14,553 crores. Union Labour Ministry informed Lok Sabha about ₹39,400 crore being withdrawn by one crore salaried workers between 25th March and 31st August.

Green Shoots

The gross GST revenue collected in the month of August, 2020 was ₹86,449 crore of which CGST was ₹15,906 crore, SGST is ₹21,064 crore, IGST is ₹42,264 crore (including ₹ 19,179 crore collected on import of goods) and Cess is ₹7,215 crore (including ₹673 crore collected on import of goods).

The revenues for the month were 88% of the GST revenues in the same month last year. During August, the revenues from import of goods were 77% and the revenues from domestic transaction (including import of services) were 92% of the revenues from these sources during the same month last year. The encouraging sign is the strong recovery after the shock of April data.

Image Courtesy: GST India September Press Release

Vehicle sales data also showed an uptick and the industry has high hopes from the up coming festive season. Civil aviation is steadily moving in the direction to reach pre-pandemic numbers.

Silent Crisis

People have been forced to postpone or reconsider certain medical procedures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The apprehension of getting in close contact with medical practitioners for dental treatment is laying the grounds for future agony. Consumption of packaged food and ready to eat meals is only compounding the problem. Food companies have reported record sales during lockdown. Lack of physical activity and restricted socializing has taken a toll on physical and mental health of everyone in different degrees.

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