Kaushal Kumar is a hawker from Saran district in Bihar, and travels from village to village selling utensils. He speaks to Ajay Kumar from Gram Vaani’s community media platform Mobile Vaani, and says that he is tired and wants to change his line of work. But his friends who are involved in other kinds of work tell him this is pointless. They all own small businesses, and since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic their sales have gone down drastically.
Kaushal says that the situation is grim. Everything costs more and the public is not earning enough to buy expensive products. The number of sellers has also grown, resulting in a scenario where supply is greater than the demand. This has created a difficult situation for the likes of Kaushal—where earlier he would make up to INR 500 a day, this amount has come down to INR 100–150.
Inflation and increase in competition due to the pandemic have had a devastating impact on street vendors like Kaushal.
Gram Vaani is a social tech company that empowers communities by enabling them to create and share stories in their own voice. Ajay Kumar has been a volunteer at Mobile Vaani since 2016.
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