A good number of people are involved in innovative microscopic business initiatives or services that we do not have any clear idea about. It is simply amazing to note how people, especially those at the grassroots level, are innovative in their search for a living. Who ever thought that selling chitoi or bhapa pitha to rickshaw pullers and other toiling masses in cities, carrying groceries to one’s house in exchange of a meagre payment or doing household chores on a part time basis could be a way of livelihood for a large number of poor people? Ash is still a waste mater in the rural background but in urban areas it enjoys a sort of demand as an alternative to dishwashing ingredients. Sometimes, poor women are found selling it to eke out a living. Selling small branches or twigs of neem (Azadirachta Indica) is also a source of income for many.
Probably a long list of such economic initiatives can be made. As an offshoot and trickle down effect of the country’s economic vibrancy and increased money circulation, better purchasing power of the people is now a reality in our socio-economic environment. This enhanced buying capacity of the people, in turn, has given rise to certain demands that were unthinkable previously. Only innovative minds can quickly identify the nascent demands and evolve ways to meet them.Irrespective of how these smallest of the small economies and means of livelihood are categorised, people involved in them deserve to be paid attention to, particularly from the perspective of coronavirus impact. Researchers are to certain extent informed about the adverse impact of the pandemic on the formal sectors of the economy but, so far our idea is concerned, there is hardly any statistics on how these microscopic traders and service providers are hit by the deadly disease.
Because of the overall economic downturn, these people are hit the hardest. We simply cannot imagine how these people are now keeping body and soul together. They are the first to slide down to utter economic destitution, with no or little prospect of bouncing back. The pandemic has caused unfathomable damage to the national economy but negation of much of the achievements in poverty reduction seems to be the most devastating. Time and efforts would be needed to heal the wound.