The article was first published in Deccan Chronicle. Views are personal.
At least 20% of Indian retailers were likely to wind up their business in the coming months. Because of restrictions in movement, it is hard for small sellers to maintain demand, and the only possible solution to that is to move online. Doing so at a national scale will expand the consumer base and better equip retailers to handle logistics.
While moving online is a widely accepted solution for sellers, it comes at a monetary and compliance cost. If small retailers are to survive the pandemic, costs of moving online will need to be mitigated. Currently, instead of an incentive to move online, the pre-COVID tax regime has inadvertently installed exist entry barriers that act as a deterrent.