Over three-fourths of small businesses in the country have shown an adverse impact on their health during the COVID-19 pandemic, with those in the manufacturing sector reporting more troubles, according to a survey.
The survey, conducted by data firm Dun & Bradstreet has shown 82 percent of businesses have experienced a negative impact during the pandemic year.
The survey was conduced among over 250 companies, evenly split between the manufacturing and services industries, having a turnover of Rs 100-250 crore yearly.
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Over two-thirds of those surveyed, or 70 per cent, said it will take them nearly a year to recover demand levels prior to COVID-19.
Over the past year, India has emerged to be one of the worst-affected nations globally by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The resultant lockdowns, which are springing up again across the country with rise in cases, have an impact on the economic front as demand disappears along with dip in income generation.
Around 60 per cent of the companies surveyed expect more measures and support, including government initiatives, the survey focused on companies in seven metro cities, said.
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The top-three challenges earmarked by the surveyed companies, which might hinder small businesses to scale up their businesses, include market access (flagged by 42 percent), improving the overall productivity (37 percent) and having access to more finance (34 percent).
The company said its commercial disruption tracker indicated that around 95 percent of firms were impacted in April 2020 when the national lockdown was imposed, and 70 percent remained disrupted as of August even with progressive unlocking, which came down to 40 percent by end of February 2021.
Citing its interactions with small businesses over the last two decades, the company said access to markets and better credit facility has been the major challenges in scaling up their operations.
Better credit facilities was the top-most voted aspect by companies, with 59 percent of them saying it can aid in post-pandemic revival, followed by better marketing support (48 percent) and adoption of technology (35 percent).
"The rate of recovery of India’s commercial enterprises, and thereby the economy, will be determined by the strength of the recovery of small business,” said its Global Chief Economist Arun Singh.Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.