Direct selling thrived in Kerala despite COVID-19: Survey

Despite the adverse impact of COVID-19 on business, the direct selling industry in Kerala thrived in the southern region by achieving sales worth Rs 471 crore and a growth rate of 9.94 per cent in 2020-21, an annual survey report released by the Indian Direct Selling Association (IDSA) said on Tuesday.

The report said that sales increased by nearly Rs 43 crore in 2020-21 as compared to the 2019-2020 financial year figure of Rs 428 crore and that Kerala trounced Tamil Nadu in sales figures to clinch second place in the southern region, according to an IDSA release.

”The direct selling industry has managed to emerge stronger and maintain the growth momentum in the State,” the release said.

It further said, ”During the period, the State also contributed over Rs 70 crore to the Exchequer by way of taxes. The State had a share of 2.6 per cent of the overall national sales, which stood at over Rs 18,067 crore during the period.” IDSA also said in the release that according to the report the number of direct sellers increased from 1.69 lakh in 2019-20 to 1.79 lakh in 2020-21 and nearly half of them were women.

State Minister for Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, G R Anil, released the survey at an event and also felicitated the women direct sellers who have excelled in the sector, the release said.

IDSA claimed: ”Kerala has led the way for the country, as far as the direct selling industry is concerned, when it notified guidelines in September 2011, the first time such clarity was issued in the country.” ”Thereafter, the Central government notified the Model Direct Selling Guidelines in 2016. Here too, Kerala was the first State to notify the guidelines. The State also constituted a robust monitoring committee on the working of direct selling entities in Kerala.” According to the release, Rajat Banerji, Chairman of IDSA, spoke at the event where he said, “Kerala continues to be a key market for the direct selling industry. Despite comprehensive lockdowns, the growth in direct sellers joining the industry demonstrates that direct selling appears as an alternative source of livelihood during the COVID-19 epidemic.

”Direct Selling has provided sustainable self-employment and micro-entrepreneurship opportunities for nearly 80 lakh Indians and has demonstrated consistent and sustained growth with a CAGR of 15.7 per cent over the period of the last four financial years.” IDSA is an autonomous, self-regulatory body for the direct selling industry in the country.

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