All eyes are on the rupee which has been falling in value against the US dollar. It has no doubt created market volatility. While the impact is pronounced in foreign travel & education and certain products, the suppliers of cleaning products in India are definitely feeling the heat. The cost of imported equipment and raw material has risen and many are relooking at the contracts already entered into and also at the business strategies. One clear solution could be to start production in India which the government has been advocating. The transition, even in a small way, will however take time.
Meanwhile, the demand for quality cleaning and hygiene practices is increasing. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to heighten the standards in healthcare centres and the overall cleanliness requirements in sectors like hospitality and tourism, that would call for efficient cleaning products.
I recently came across a study done by Essity, a global hygiene and health company, that states that India and Mexico are by far the countries with the highest “hygiene worry”. Almost three in four, in these countries, say that they worry often or always about becoming ill due to poor hygiene. Only 4% and 7% say that they never worry. The contrast is stark when compared to the Netherlands where more than half (53%) never worry. Globally, 7 in 10 (66%) people have refrained from one or several activities — eating street food, using public toilets, etc., – because of concerns about hygiene levels. Again, the youth worries the most.
That brings us to the point that most of the cleanliness initiatives in the country involve students. Once I had read about a few swachh warriors from Panchayat Union Middle School, Konerikuppa village from Villupuram district of Tamil Nadu, helping an elderly lady who swept their school’s large playground. Way back in 2016, they got together and built two sweeping vehicles made out of waste products to ease the burden of the 50-year-old cleaner, P Panchali. Materials used for their sweeping vehicles – one that can be used while cycling in circles, and the other while walking in circles — were waste palm, coconut leaves, a stick, and wheels of small cycles.