NEW DELHI: Nine in ten urban Indians (89 percent) picked banks as the most essential service during the lockdown from a list of businesses providing non-essential goods and services. Respondents who are 40+ were more likely to say this than those between 18-29 years of age (91 percent vs 86 percent), says a survey.
Following this, around three-quarters (74 percent) think of online home repair services to be crucial during this time. The onset of summer and the need for AC and fridge servicing could be the reason for placing greater importance on this need, notes a survey by YouGov.
Many people consider newspapers and magazines as well as pet stores to be of higher importance (61 percent each) in the current scenario than the availability of alcohol- through delivery or at shops (16 percent) and cigarettes (12 percent).
However, among the different regions, East India is most likely to consider alcohol and cigarette shops as providing essential services, with 24 percent and 17 percent, respectively, saying this.
Residents of South India are most likely to give newspapers the highest consideration while residents of West India are least likely to do so (68 percent vs 49 percent). The demand for pet stores, however, is comparatively lower in South India. Similarly, the need for pet stores and services is more urgent for tier-1 residents (with 66 percent saying this) than tier-2 (57 percent) and tier- 3 (59 percent) residents.
The Home ministry's decision to cancel the permission to sell non-essential commodities on e-commerce platforms may add to the disappointment of many who consider the online sale of kitchen appliances (40 percent), gadgets (33 percent) and body care/ skincare products (35 percent) as essential.
There also seems to be scepticism towards some businesses that the government has allowed to trade during the pandemic. While 60 percent said they consider postal and courier services essential, people seem to be in a less dire need of local standalone salons and parlours, and only a meagre proportion counts salon services - either at home (15 percent) or at shops (13 percent), as 'essential'.
Lastly, the government's dilemma to revoke the restriction on the operation of gyms and fitness centres seems to match the divided public opinion on whether it is essential or not. Close to half (46 percent) think of them as key services, but almost as many (54 percent) feel they are unnecessary.
At an overall level, people seem happy with the availability of essential items in the lockdown, with 76 percent respondents saying they are satisfied with the available essential services and don't want any more amenities. 17 percent, on the other hand, are dissatisfied with the services and want more amenities during the lockdown.
As per a new order, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has allowed some shops providing non-essential goods and services to reopen. However, many businesses still remain closed.