The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has started approaching a host of small and medium entities in MSME, retail, restaurants, malls and hospitality sectors as part of its latest survey to gauge the impact of the second Covid-19 wave that has further pushed those businesses to the wall.

RBI has mandated several banks to identify small and medium businesses in those sectors and to line up online meetings as part of the central bank’s initiatives.
“The regulator is trying to ascertain the most impacted sectors due to the second wave,” said a banker asking not to be identified. “We have seen that the borrowers who have taken moratorium or availed restructuring during the first wave are the ones which are facing trouble even now.”

An RBI spokesperson did not respond to an email seeking comments on the initiative.
A retailer said he had a Zoom call with a top official from his banker and the RBI more than a week ago. “The RBI wanted to directly check the situation on the ground for the badly hit industries,” said the retailer.

The RBI-mandated survey of small and medium business entities could be a precursor either to a government stimulus package or to provide them with further banking reliefs like additional loans or further restructuring of their debts, sources said.

On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported that the finance ministry is working on a stimulus package for sectors worst affected by the pandemic.

Retailers, restaurant operators, malls, hotels and various other small and medium businesses were already reeling under the impact of last year’s deadly coronavirus outbreak and the more virulent second wave this year has brought many of them to the brink of collapse as various states are still observing strict weeks-long lockdowns to curb the spread of the disease.
Retailers Association of India (RAI) said 80% of stores nationwide are currently closed as a result.