Due to Nationwide lockdown, the mobility industry, as much as other industries, is facing a big challenge. We at Mobility India wanted to know the feelings and outlook of the mobility industry players. In an interaction with Mobility magazine, , Senior Vice President of AIMRA, (All India Mobile Resellers Association), a national level mobile industry association, shares his opinions and the guidance they want to give to the partners in the context of countrywide lockdown.
“Our concern, at AIMRA (All India Mobile Resellers Association), as a responsible national level mobile industry association has been how to guide the partners to face this challenge and stay strong. “Since the first week of March 2020, after knowing the COVID-19 had been spreading globally, we have been deliberating over the effects of the fast spreading COVID-19 on the industry, even before the govt announced lockdown and other measures. As soon as govt announced lockdown, we guided all our partners to release salaries to their employees and plan their finances carefully. We seriously discussed the repercussions and challenges of the lockdown.
We sent tweets to our partners, as early as March first week, that Coronavirus Pandemic is going to be deadly in the coming weeks and everyone should be cautious and tread carefully, as prevention is better than cure.
As soon as the lockdown was announced, we immediately sent letters to the Prime Minister, Home Minister and Finance Minister on how the government should help to minimize the impact on the industry. Understanding the gravity of the situation, we wrote to the PM stating that we stood in solidarity under his efficient strong leadership and if need arised and the lockdown should be extended for 30-45 days. We also urged Home Minister to provide extra patrolling near the shopping complexes because there will be nobody guard the proprties. We wrote a letter Finance minister for DBD & MDR waiver or reducing digital payment charges, rent exemptions, deferrals of EMI payments, exemption of minimum electricity charges, etc. We also requested that the gov should announce some supportive financial packages to the mobile retailers. The increase in GST from 12% to 18% has a very negative impact on the businesses leading to increase in prices of mobile phones and decrease of margins. Today mobile phones have become essential goods like Roti, Kapada aur Makaan.
Coming to our webinars, these online seminars are open to unlimited connectivity and the number of persons participate is open-ended. In the last 20 days, we conducted 18 online meetings. The main focus of all these webinars has been how to bring the businesses on to the track. We urged everyone to be locked down physically, but not mentally. All should be mentally active, prepared to face the consequences of lockdown and proactively plan how to survive and then thrive once lockdown is lifted. We kept on sending messages to all our members. First, we had online with the state level AIMRA leaders. We guided them how to conduct meetings at the state and the local levels. We also we did several state level online meetings.
The Message to our partners is they should prepare plans how to face the current challenge of. Partners should be proactive and prepare plans how to bounce back once the crisis is over. We have already given guidelines to our partners to take digital payments as far as possible. And while selling offline, they should maintain the social distance guidelines and follow lockdown rules. To put them in a nutshell, our messages to our partners include:
# Lockdown is meant to be physical, not mental.
# Your Business is Off, but Keep Your Meter On
# Support govt initiatives to contain the spread of COVID-19 – Together we can win – STAY HOME, STAY HOME, STAY ISOLATED.
# Spend time in mediation, yoga and fitness activities. We Never Lack Time, We Lack Self-Discipline.
# Donate to PM CARES fund as much as you can.
At AIMRA, we wish that COVID-19 crisis will be over soon and we will return back to normalcy. Let us hope the best and prepare for the worst.”