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More importantly, the partnerships have the potential to help reduce Covid-19 infections as Indians can remain home and do not need to venture outside to shop for essentials.

According to IBEF, the service sector engaged 32% of India’s employed population and contributed to 54% of India’s Gross Value Added in 2019, and is regarded as a key economic growth driver in India.

The service sector in India includes industries such as hotel and restaurants, communication, construction, insurance, transport, real estate, finance and trade, as well as community, personal and social services. Most of these industries present an opportunity to partner with FMCG retailers and distributors to feed the nation or simplify life during the Covid-19 crisis.

However, government measures dictate only companies involved in production or distribution of essential goods have permits for unobstructed travel, making it imperative that any partnership fall within production or distribution.

This is what happened when FMCG retailers and producers partnered with online taxi and delivery firms from the service sector to help distribute groceries. Previously, taxi and delivery firms could not operate during the Covid-19 lockdown.

However, the partnerships made these online firms distributors of essential goods, allowing them to operate again. As a result, many FMCG companies working at a minimum capacity are now collaborating with online players from diverse industries in India to work on logistical solutions to provide essential goods to Indian consumers.

Recent partnerships include consumer goods company Marico teaming up with both Swiggy and Zomato (food delivery companies), while the India Tobacco Company (ITC) partnered with Domino’s, and retailer Big Bazaar will work with both Rapido (bike taxi company) and Scootsy (food delivery). Finally, Spencer’s Retail is teaming up with Uber India, Rapido and Scootsy.

Partnerships like these ensure delivery apps can increase the workforce again to circulate essentials and redistribute employment opportunities to other service-based industries. After the agriculture sector, the priority should be to increase production capacity of FMCG industries offering goods such as food, beverages, household cleaning products and sanitizers so that supply does not run short. These partnerships will help reduce the infection risk in India.

Many people are working from home during the pandemic and do not venture outside, so they need goods and services to come to them. With retailers’ delivery slots fully booked, these partnerships relieve strain while also helping to reduce the infection risk.

Making it mandatory for Indians to continue working from home while ensuring essentials are supplied to households via these cross-sector partnerships can be considered a win-win. The Indian Government can also identify selected restaurants in each city that can be sanitary-verified and provide subscription-based meal kits to those people who are stuck in cities and prefer to cook at home.

These arrangements could help to reduce pressure on India’s healthcare system and partially mitigate the impact of a potential recession.

For more insight and data, visit the GlobalData Consumer Intelligence Centre

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