By Alok Bansal,
Indian Union Budget 2021-22: The waves of changes brought to us by this pandemic and unequivocal, and it made countries, brands, and individuals think on their feet. Covid-19 has substantially disrupted many lives, livelihoods, and businesses around the world. Indeed the impact that it has left behind is unprecedented. More than anything, the pandemic completely altered the status quo, leaving many reeling from its ramifications.
Be it education, retail, or business, every sector of the economy, how customers behaved previously, and how brands communicated themselves has had to undergo a radical transformation to stay afloat and retain normalcy wherever possible. Companies have had to do everything – from switching to work from home & operating virtually to ensuring social distancing at the workplace. Thus, India Inc. adopted new measures to continue its economic activities while safeguarding and protecting public health.
In light of the prevailing circumstances, many enterprises and organizations have devised innovative ideas and solutions. Keeping the economic endeavors on a halt for the long-term is beyond the scope; Indian companies have been innovating not just in terms of survival but even to curb the coronavirus’s spread. Some have introduced new and unique products, while others have gone completely virtual.
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India Inc Innovates For the ‘New Normal’
Keeping in view the government’s recent initiative to make work-from-home (WFH) a permanent feature of IT/ITES/BPO sectors, companies are maneuvering to implement it as a long-term strategy. To re-look at all the factors in this new normal for building a homogeneous work culture, imparting training and skill to organizations, and ensuring security, creating employee bonding opportunities is essential.
Undoubtedly, the global pandemic has been the biggest disruptor of this century. In the current scenario, the government’s move could prove to be a game-changer, especially for the IT and BPO industry, making India the global outsourcing hub and creating more jobs beyond the metro cities. Remote-working culture will allow companies to attract and hire talent from any part of the world, cut down on operational costs, and accelerate the development and use of new human resources.
Indian businesses that erstwhile relied on real-time in-person meetings for daily discussions and tasks have now completely taken to the virtual medium to conduct their regular operations. In this regard, video conferencing has played a crucial role in maintaining professional contact and transparency among employees in every company. Many organizations have also resorted to contact-less delivery of their products & services. Organizations have taken the change as an opportunity than a threat and have attempted to reduce the effects of Covid-19 efficiently.
Some Indian enterprises have forayed into unique healthcare & wellness products and solutions that help mitigate the virus’s risk while restoring economic activities across the country. Others have ramped up production of Covid-19 essentials to combat their shortage during emergencies in the pandemic.
Brands and start-ups have taken up various ‘Make in India’ initiatives such as UV Steriliser, Ozonators, Hand Sanitizer Kiosks, Thermal Body Temperature Detection Camera, and Smart Video Analytics, which can detect face masks, PPE detection, etc.
Some companies have also stepped up to make PPE Kits, Face Masks, and Sanitizers to ensure an endless supply of all these essential items. One of the most remarkable contributions has been by the self-help groups. When the whole world was struggling with a shortage of face coverings, Indian SHGs helped the Indian population immensely by providing face masks made of cloth. In addition, many of them are running community kitchens, combating the spread of misinformation, and even extending banking and financial solutions to those in dire need.
Even firms in the healthcare sector have incubated a host of innovations in these past few months. Many health portals and organizations provided online consultations with doctors and medical practitioners via their platform. In contrast, the online medicine delivery services boosted telemedicine and no-contact delivery to the doorstep of medicinal supplies.
Budget 2021 looks hopeful and empowering as it focuses on the revival of the economy with a “minimum Government, maximum governance” approach. With a targeted fiscal deficit of 6.8% of GDP, the government has attempted to bring the economy back on its pre-COVID-19-time impressive growth path by boosting public expenditure on infrastructure, healthcare systems, and financial institutions. This will have positive long-term effects on economic growth. The new policy changes will boost entrepreneurial spirits and a digital-first economy as these focus on start-ups and ‘one-person’ companies providing them no restrictions on paid-up capitals.
The allocation of a sizable amount of Rs. 15,700 crores to the MSME sector, more than double of last year, is a great motivation for mid-sized companies. The allocations for COVID-19 vaccine aims at immediate fiscal support to the sector and it will have significant effects on reviving demand in other sectors”.
Throughout the Covid-19 crisis, India Inc. has demonstrated fiery agility and flexibility in retaining normalcy in business operations. By blending in tech innovation, Indian minds have proven their mettle yet again that they can evolve and adapt when the need arises and do not crumble in the face of adversity.
(The author is MD, and Country Head – Visionet India. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)