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The old Kirana stores are facing the fight against the coronavirus because the large supermarket chains and online supermarkets are struggling to fully resume their activities from the start of the 21-day blockade.

In retrospect, it is preferable that around 90% of the Indian retail sector is unorganized. And there are functional public hospitals and related health centers, however chaotic they may be.

Fourteen days after an unprecedented national blockade, pre-liberalized India came to save the country. Kirana’s family stores and the 12 million convenience stores have become the most important and endless supplier of everyday items to urban Indian families around the world.

Like state hospitals and small clinics that provide services during this time of crisis. The great modern symbols of economic recovery, public service supermarkets, and mega-hospitals cannot be seen as the country faces a titanic struggle against COVID. It was before 1990, the era of the Raj license and the public sector, all concentrated.

In 2012, the Congress-led UPA approved 51% of foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail stores, but the government of Narendra Modi, which delivered on its promise in the 2014 survey manifesto, made the decision to refrigerate after arrival. Power came, although it never came to power, it officially canceled it by government notice.

In its 2014 electoral manifesto, the BJP said it would allow foreign direct investment in all sectors where it is necessary for job and asset creation, infrastructure, the acquisition of niche technologies and expertise, but not in supermarkets. The movement can be preventive. Family businesses are back in force.

In recent years, they have been at the center of two transformative forces: one that they are modernizing, using technologies to improve their efficiency and tactics in modern retailing, and the other that they want to make. Nerve centers of electronic commerce. The digital payment revolution has focused on small towns and beyond, connecting them to virtual centers for demand, supply and transactions.


However, such attempts received a cruel blow from COVID-19. Indian Retail Association (RAI) CEO Kumar Rajagopalan reportedly said that the availability of basic food items is less affected in the country than in the west, where consumers have lined up in front of supermarkets in queues. Serpentine due to Kirana stores in the colonies has become almost the lifeguard of the country in recent days.

Large supermarket chains and online supermarkets have struggled to fully resume operations since the 21-day shutdown on March 24, largely due to the severe job crisis. On the other hand, most Kirana’s in the cities turn to dealers or resellers in the cities to buy the products they need. Because retailers cannot bring supplies to the store due to labour shortages and travel restrictions, these small traders end up in their warehouses to pick up items on the last mile with no delivery problems. People find it convenient to walk a short distance and pick up their everyday items from the friendly face of the counter.

Some Kirana’s work with welfare associations resident in housing associations to ensure the supply of food and other key products. There are others who take orders via WhatsApp and deliver what is needed, especially for the elderly who live alone.

The reference to pre-liberalization was difficult, almost impossible to avoid. Not surprisingly, the widespread public hospitals – AIIMS, Safdarjung, primary health centres (PHC), small colony clinics and all the large public hospitals in the country – had to take up the challenge of dealing head-on with the coronavirus pandemic with limited tools. Given the Herculean task of treating the infinite number of patients who are often poor and destitute, their work is thankless.

What is much less documented is the lukewarm response from the country’s super-specialized hospital chains, which have shown far less enthusiasm for fighting the virus than they should, given the unlimited resources and the Hippocratic Oath at their offices.

It was only after an increase in COVID-19 cases in India and a possible threat of community transmission that the government approved and ordered private hospitals to begin admission. To begin with, private health care providers only had to take a throat swab from COVID-19 suspected patients and advise them to quarantine the house pending test results.

Until last week, even when the government asked private hospitals to prepare for COVID-19 treatment by identifying separate isolation rooms, hospitals said they did not have the required permits. ‘Indian Medical Research Council to perform tests.

With increasing pressure from the government, virtually every major hospital chain in the country has offered to help, admitting that the challenge they face is epic. The Apollo Hospital chain has targeted 5,000 viral treatment rooms in Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Bangalore and Delhi. In the Max chain, treatment is offered in specially designated isolation rooms in hospitals – the eastern block is Max Super Specialty Hospital in Saket and Max Super Specialty Hospital in Patparganj. In addition, the hospital’s diagnostic laboratory, Max Labs, will test COVID-19 on samples taken from four Delhi-NCR units. Other hospital chains have offered similar support.

Given the magnitude of the challenge, however, it is government agencies that face the worst part of the coronavirus, especially since they are more numerous and their coefficient of social responsibility is significantly higher.


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