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Second wave of COVID batters India’s economy

NEW DELHI: India is going through the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic as the single-day spike crossed 400,000 cases last week, and the total tally almost reached 20 million.
Amid the prevailing conditions, the overall Indian economy, mired in a recession since last year due to COVID-19, has been dragged down further by the second wave of the pandemic.
Most industries and the manufacturing sector are either shut or working at a much lesser capacity. The workforce in non-essential services has moved back home and is working online. Once again, offices have been closed and supplementary businesses depending on corporate employees, like the food and hospitality sector, have been hit hard.
In a bid to curb the raging pandemic, more than 10 states, including Delhi, have imposed partial or complete lockdowns, and five states, such as Nagaland, are observing night curfews.
While essential services are allowed to operate, the rest have been shut till further notice. The work-from-home mode in both government offices and private enterprises is encouraged, and people are suggested to stay indoors unless it is very urgent to step out.
Small restaurant owners, online food suppliers and hotel chains are the worst hit. Ramesh Chandrikant, who runs a chain of restaurants in Gurugram, an IT hub adjoining Delhi, said he had expected things to return to normal as new COVID-19 cases per day had come down to the level of below 10,000 by the end of January.
“But then this second wave hit the country, and the situation changed from bad to worse. After nearly one year of the pandemic, we were expecting that it was all over and all IT and software firms’ employees would return to their offices. Now, I don’t see them coming back anytime soon this year,” said Chandrikant. “Most of the IT and software firms’ employees stay here alone or as a couple with both husband and wife working. Most of them depended on our food services, and we had a good business all these years before COVID-19,” he added. “Now, since nearly 90 percent of them are working from homes located in different states, our business is totally ruined.” – Agencies

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