Kerala: Shopkeepers are compelled to sell on roads due to massive losses
Kerala: Shopkeepers are compelled to sell on roads due to massive losses


Pandemic has hit hard in the working sector. Every few meters of the city, there are people who are busy newly setting up shop, selling homemade food or cashew nuts in plastic covers, vegetables in sealed packets for 100 rupees and boxes of various goodies stacked at the back of cars with the hood raised. Job losses began even before the lockdown got formally published in the second half of March. In the beginning months, the Labour Commission did a study and roughly estimated that seven lakh people in the state would have lost jobs. This was 40 days into the lockdown.

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“It is an approximate number and includes the migrant labourers who were employed in different fields of work. All sectors had been affected, the least perhaps is the plantation sector. The most affected were shopping centres and establishments, construction sites and the unorganised sector,” says a source at the Labour Commission. It is correct as there are people who had run shops for years, now standing on the roadside with a box of meals under an umbrella. 

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Of the nearly 1.3 crore workers in Kerala, 30 to 35% of the people have lost their jobs, and this is mostly in the informal or unorganised sector, says K Raviraman, state planning board member. “We did a study a few months into the lockdown and found that it is the service sector that has suffered the most number of job losses due to the pandemic, followed by the manufacturing sector. The least affected is the agriculture sector. Kerala is essentially a service sector economy, in that 55% of the GDP is contributed by it. Thirty percent comes from the manufacturing sector and the remaining from agriculture,” Raviraman says.


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