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Turning tide for the beauty & wellness industry in Maharashtra?

by Arun Shirishkar

BJP State President (Maharashtra) Shri Chandrakantji Patil assured the representatives of the Beauty & Wellness industry that he will personally take up their cause with the Maharashtra Government

COVID-19 has held the entire world at ransom for the past 3-4 months and has brought many industries, businesses, and the global economy down on its knees. One of the most distressing industries in this situation is the Beauty & Wellness industry. As we all know the prime functioning of this industry involves high-touch and contact-based treatments which is a challenge in today’s more health and safety and social distancing driven environment. 

This fragmented industry which provides jobs to over 70 lakhs+ professionals who today are facing a serious issue of unemployment and financial crises as salons largely remain closed around the country and those that do open struggle to make ends meet. Unlike other industries to date the Beauty & Wellness industry has not received any aid from the State Government to alleviate their pains and sufferings. 

Ray of hope
However, on 23rd June 2020, Mr Uday Takke, a seasoned beauty professional in Mumbai, along with representatives of 40-42 organizations working for the Nabhik Samaj, activists and experts from the Beauty & Wellness sector organized a meeting with Shri Chandrakantji Patil, MLA & BJP State President (Maharashtra) via video conferencing, not only to discuss but also to find a solution to the problems of salon and parlour professionals. This meeting was moderated by Santesh Sapke and Bhakti Sapke along with Mr Harish Prabhu, Head of Maharashtra Journalism Association as a coordinator. In this hour and a half long meeting, discussions focused on challenges faced by the wider industry during lockdown including those by freelancers, spas, home service providers, and academies in the wake of the financial downturn. 

Committee requests
The committee put forward requests to support the community such as waivers to shop rents, electricity, phone, water, maintenance bills; as well as interest-free loan installments for the next 6 months, reducing the GST limit 5% and allowing 12 months period to clear the same plus relief in income tax, profession tax, municipal tax, etc. They also requested that the government authorities should issue a financial aid of Rs. 10,000 / – in rural areas and Rs.  15,000 for at least 6-8 months. The salon employees should also receive medical insurance worth Rs. 5 lakhs and life cover worth Rs. 50 lakhs. There should also be a compensation of Rs. 5 lakhs issued by the state government to families of salon professional who have committed suicide in COVID conditions, were other points of discussion in the meeting. 

The meeting with Shri Chandrakantji Patil is the latest in the series of high-level meetings the industry has been having with Government officials. In early June, Ms Rekha Chaudhary, wellness ambassador conducted an online meeting of beauty professionals with ex-CM of Maharashtra, Shri Devendraji Fadnavis where he offered his assurances to represent the issue of the beauty and wellness industry to the current CM of Maharashtra, Shri Uddhavji Thackeray, results of which are still awaited by the community. 

A virtual meeting with Mr Aaditya Thackeray
But the industry did not stop and also approached Mr Aaditya Thackeray, Minister of Tourism and Environment, Maharashtra and discussed their concerns with him and assured him that if the salons and parlours are allowed to reopen in Maharashtra then they will ensure that there is a self-declaration process and also have their safety and hygiene manuals and SOP’s in place to ensure the wellbeing of their customers. The experts also mentioned a special point that since they are shut for a longer period, the damage will be extensive with increasing reports of salon owners committing suicides across the country. Aaditya Thackeray concluded the meeting by saying that, “If beauty professionals can ensure maintain SOP’s and hygiene standards in this industry then he will try to get the community back to business.” 

Given the number of high-level meetings in recent months at State and Central level and fact that salons have started opening up across the country, hopefully it won’t be too long before the beauty and wellness industry is able to open across Maharashtra and that financial aid can also be provided to support the community get back up on its feet, thus turning the tide for the beauty and wellness industry of Maharashtra.

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