Online Delivery Eliminating Market Competition during COVID-19 Pandemic in Nagaland

The whole world is suffering during this phase of darkness. The people who earn their living by being a daily wage earner or street vendor suffers the most. This story is relatable.

Almost after five years of the online delivery system of goods and services right on our doorstep being introduced in Nagaland, online shopping service users have also tripled. Some of the online shopping website and apps like Amazon, Myntra, Flipkart etc., have gained utmost popularity, not just in Nagaland but in the entire state of the Northeast. These sites are attracting more and more customers every single day in the whole country in general. The rise of such multi-million dollar companies has likewise paved another new way for other local delivery services. The most famous local online delivery service in the state of
Nagaland includes fast food and local food delivery services, used clothing, vehicles and other electronic selling services. However, the implementation of total lockdown in the entire state of Nagaland, due to the steep rise in the number of COVID-19 positive cases, has allowed a lot of small businesses and entrepreneurs to achieve their goals.
However, the existing and growing number of online delivery services in Nagaland hasn't, in any manner, affected the chain of demand. In fact, the need for such services during desperate times, such as this, have allowed smooth functioning and flow of the revenue generated just within the state.
However, with the rise in COVID-19 positive cases, presently, many people are opting for online delivery services to purchase the most basic and essential commodities such as rice and vegetables.
It is not just fast food or local food delivery services. Online delivery services of essential commodities such as rice, fresh vegetables, fruits, groceries, meat, and even medicines are now just a touch or a phone call away.
That has caused tremendous grief and panic to the families striving to make ends meet by selling their fresh homegrown fruits, vegetables, etc.
Market vendors are the worst affected since they are not allowed to sell anything at the marketplace.
It is not just fast or local food delivery services. But online delivery services of essential commodities such as rice, fresh vegetables, fruits, groceries, meat and even medicines are now just a touch or a phone call away.
However, the district officials have requested them to sell their products to their colonies to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus while granting them a chance to earn something.
representative image of street vendors
Image: representative image of street vendors
An interview with a group of vegetable vendors nearly three weeks since the announcement of the total lockdown had only tales of hardship to convey. Miss Tamthingla, who is also the oldest among the vendors, said, "Most of us here are widows. The rest of the women have husbands who are daily wage earners.
Because of the total movement restrictions imposed by the state government, the men are also out of work. The lockdown has led to the prices of even the most mediocre quality rice shot up twice as much. And even if our heartaches to see our hour's long sweat dripped earnings just spent for a day's meal when before the lockdown, that profit could feed us for three days, there is nothing we can do. And since we are confined just within our vicinity to sell our vegetables instead of the marketplace, there genuinely isn't any real profit made."
When asked about the consequences of online delivery services on their lives as a daily vegetable vendor, Ms Azino replied, "The power of the internet is so dominant that even the role of a street vendor is deemed as useless. Now, after the introduction of these online services, the majority of people are ordering even the simplest commodities, such as rice, potatoes etc., to be delivered to their doorstep.
None of us is against the brains that are implementing these online delivery services. But this has indirectly affected us and has almost eliminated us out from the competition. Also, some individuals and officials have advised us to sell our fresh produces to those online delivery firms so that we will not solely profit through little effort, but our chances of getting exposed to the virus become lesser.
I sincerely think that is an ingenious suggestion, but how does an illiterate widow like me go beyond this old keypad phone? Some of us don't even have the money to purchase a simple keypad phone, let alone accessing the internet. I am proud and grateful that this Pandemic (aside from the deaths and infections) has allowed a lot of our younger generations (who are like our sons and daughters) to prosper meticulously both financially and strategically." 
Further, they all stated that if a conducive atmosphere for both online delivery services and physical vegetable vendors can be achieved, it will not only make Nagaland a better and more exciting state but the worries of the street vendor widows for their children's well-being regardless of their complications would be vaporized, even if the COVID-19 virus grasps their life whilst sacrificing for their families.



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