Time to provide grants for small scale vendors

Hyderabad: During the Lockdown the poor were under extreme hardship with many unable to get even basic food. Thanks to so many organizations, groups, philanthropists and concerned individuals, thousands of people were provided ration kits that enabled them to survive the period of Lockdown. Many of these were people who previously earned their own livelihoods but could not do so due to the restrictions. 

With the relaxation in Lockdown they can now get back into their businesses of selling vegetables, fruits, flowers etc. But during the past 2 months, most have lost their working capital that is between Rs. 2000 to Rs. 5,000. If grants of just Rs 2,000 to 5,000 can be provided, thousands can get back into business and support themselves and their families for years. 

COVA has launched a program to provide working capital to petty business persons to restore their businesses on 7 June 2020 at Chaderghat Hyderabad by giving grants from Rs. 2000 to Rs. 5000 to 26 persons who were engaged in selling vegetables, fruits, flowers and running tea stall to enable them to restart their businesses.

Of these 26 persons being supported by COVA one had started business just 8 month back but another was in business for 40 years. Average tenure in business for these 26 people was 10 years but most could not restart their businesses despite easing of the Lockdown due to lack of working capital.   

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It is proposed to identify and to provide grants to at least 1000 such small trades in Hyderabad in the coming weeks to enable them to restore their businesses. 

Narrating her ordeal Rajeshwari, who has completed her intermediate and is into vegetables business for 7 years said that with the Lockdown she could not do any business and her husband who works as a driver also lost his job.

As a result, they used up all their savings including the working capital just to survive in the last two and half months and now have nothing to restart their business. With the grant of Rs. 3000 provided by COVA, she will be able to get back to her vegetable business and take care of her family. 

Echoing the sentiment Rabia bee, a fruit seller for 15 years laments that her husband had a paralytic attach and she was taking care of her family by herself that included two daughters.

But with the Lockdown all was lost and they had to survive on the ration kits provided by different people. Now people have also stopped giving rations and she does not have any money to restart her business. With the money provided by COVA she will be able to enter the market again and start her own earning as before.   

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Mr. Afzal Taj has a tea stall and supports a family of five. He has blood pressure and diabetes and needs regular medication. During the Lockdown, he was deprived of regular access to both food and medicines. With the grant provided by COVA, he will now able to restart the tea stall that does not require much capital but gives good returns.   

Dr. Mazher Hussain, Executive Director of COVA said that while COVA solicits donations to support this program, we also request people to identify small businesses in their own neighborhoods who need working capital to restart and support them directly. Indeed many organisations and people helped the poor and persons from small businesses to survive by giving ration kits for 2 months. Now by providing them similar amount as grant towards working capital we can enable them to survive and support their families for years to come.

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