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‘Save Salon India’ – The campaign that needs urgent attention

Salon, Parlour, India, Parlours in India, Lockdown, Coronavirus, Financial Crisis, Salon and Parlour Association, Parlor, Salon, Hair Cutter, BarberThe government’s decision to reopen the salon shop, which has been closed for the past three months due to lockdown, has not gone well with the mental health of parlour owners. Many owners either struggling to sell the business or switch to some other sector due to zero activity and additional liabilities.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in May announced the Rs 20 lakh crore economic packages to support the economy and tackle the coronavirus crisis in the country. Among others, the Minister announced a slew of fiscal and regulatory measures for MSMEs and general businesses. This also covers the beauty and salon industry, but so far, no one has benefited from this scheme due to poor implementation.

Salon owners association’s Vice President Tushar Chavan, while speaking to Afternoon Voice, said, “Government should come out with clear cut modalities. Right now, our association meeting is going on where many issues were raised like beauty parlours are a source of income as well as women entrepreneurship. The government should take a decision on rendering some help to such businesses. Financial stress is not allowing many owners and small entrepreneurs to resume”. Even if they resume, there are many challenges.”

Almost 12 or more salon professionals committed suicide in this three-month lengthy lockdown, and most of them committed suicide in unlock 1.0 (mission begin again) phase. Now what is done cannot be undone, but the government must help families of these professionals by giving them compensation of 15 lakh, demanded Tushar Chavan.

Amid other businesses, salons and parlours also came to a halt after the coronavirus lockdown was enforced in late March. With the easing of coronavirus-induced curbs in different states, some salons opened after a gap of three months while many remained closed due to lack of manpower and money. However, many have complained of low turnout, saying people were scared of availing salon services.

During this, All India Hair and Beauty Association, with around 8 lakh salon professionals have launched a campaign titled ‘Save Salon India.’

Through the campaign, the salon owners and workers have asked the central government for financial aid.

Association’s Ashok Paliwal has appealed Prime Minister Narendra Modi to mediate and form a bailout package. According to a report, the members of the All India Hair and Beauty Association have demanded a financial aid of Rs 10,000 for those in rural areas and Rs 15,000 for the professionals in urban areas. Apart from that, the association has also asked for health insurance, which will cover COVID-19, relief in income tax filing, and a deadline extension for goods and service tax. This comes after almost many salon owners committed suicide due to the financial crisis amid the COVID-19 lockdown.

Young engineer and social activist Priyanka Dhurpate told Afternoon Voice, “Looking at the overall conditions of an average parlour owner in the city, I thought I should join the campaign and appeal for the support from people. I have created a fundraiser account and request everyone to donate as it suits to their pockets. Once we collect the funds we are planning to go live on social media where we would give away funds to all those who are in need and who are struggling to sustain.”

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Pranam Seth a makeup artist, told Afternoon Voice, “A parlour that has its own setup and establishment certificate can at least demand the aid from authorities and government, they will get any help or not is questionable though. But makeup artists like me and women who contribute a lot to revenue generation of state but run a private parlour within their home, have no voices, they equally suffered losses due to COVID-19 lockdown.”

Mrs Aditi, the owner of Orange Beauty Lounge & Academy, said, “My motive right now is to help salon industry personals who are majorly suffering financial distress. I appeal to all those biggies of the same fraternity who already made huge profits and sustained in this industry for years, should come forward and render support to small business groups.”

She further stated, “The government has promised help, but the uncertainty of reaching aids to salon individuals is another big challenge.” The huge time lapse may force to take some more lives, and that would be appalling.”

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