Could “Co-Covid” be India’s Upsurge Moment?

Gradually people were beginning to come with terms with the fact that the situation was the same worldwide. There was shock, despair, disbelief and a fear of acceptance of the truth.

COVID-19 came as a surprise to the world and never in the history of the modern world, had so many countries come to a grinding halt so suddenly. Governments panicked and started to declare lockdowns, as the pandemic started to tighten its grip, it resulted in immense fear in the air. Gradually people were beginning to come with terms with the fact that the situation was the same worldwide. There was shock, despair, disbelief and a fear of acceptance of the truth.

Moving the world to digital was the only option left. What started as a struggle under an unplanned lockdown to a scenario where people came up with quick fixes, there was a massive spurt in the use of technology for any and everything that required solutions or interventions. Work moved online overnight, from Companies to Schools and with webinars, meetings and use of technology-based interactions, with even schools shifting classes online, businesses started to think of newer ways to exist and not perish. The acceptance phase started to set in as several experts highlighted that this had become the new way of life.

References to pre and post COVID were no longer relevant because a culture of ‘Co- COVID’ needed to be encouraged. Now one might ask what is Co-COVID? It can be explained as the increased ability to co-exist with the corona virus and treat the situation as a stepping-stone to a better future, beyond treatments and vaccines.

A few months into COVID 19, positive impacts are being observed -- The world has shrunk and, the environment is renewing itself beautifully. Humans are beginning to make more conscious choices. Chaos and traffic hope to be things of the past, the real estate bubble seems to be diminishing in size, processes of remote working and digitization of education are getting more robust, newer and more innovative technologies are taking over. Social distancing behaviors, work from home, a digitized and transformed education system, a virtual world, belief in local and indigenous wisdom, deeper human connections and increased focus on health and family are among the top few. While many people have accepted this reality, many are yet to accept that things may never go back to the way they were before. The world as it is today can be described through the lyrics of a song – “a whole new world, a new fantastic point of view, no one to tell us, "no" or where to go, unbelievable sights, indescribable feeling, soaring, tumbling, freewheeling, through an endless diamond sky”.

On the cusp of this beautiful new world is India – this can be one of the greatest opportunities for the Indian economy if we start looking for progressive ways to swiftly recover our economy, Unless a paradigm shift happens on our approach, we may not be able to capitalize on the tremendous opportunities. This is India’s second, bigger and better Y2K moment and the one that will catapult it to the top in the world order. In fact not everything is bad, demands for certain products specifically electronics have soared to all time high and so are many innovations in the consumer goods sector.

One of the greatest shifts has happened during COVID 19 , the biggest equalizer of all times – societal hierarchies have been broken down because of virus’s impartial social impact on all leading to increased social awareness and heightened empathy towards one another. Other arenas where it is visible, where there is increased focus on innovation – disruption of supply chains bringing in new delivery methods and change in the way retail businesses are being done, remote performance monitoring applications and systems, and an intensified willingness of the government to partner with private players, with special emphasis on enhancing skills.

Economically, COVID 19 has brought most countries to the same level playing field. Massive global alliances, which were not possible earlier, have started to become tangible possibilities. Surprisingly, professionals who once moved from India to other countries for better economic opportunities now see opportunities in India.

Greener pastures and opportunities is eyeing India in the form of being the world’s factory from China to India. Brands are starting to dread a backlash from their consumers for “Made in China” products. If the Indian government plays its cards right , then instead of countries like Vietnam and Thailand, India could reap the benefits of the manufacturing shift. A few elements that could help improve the manufacturing ecosystems could be to foster open trade and commercial reliability, offer fiscal backing, enhance the regulatory environment and invest on reliable and high quality business infrastructure.

Gigantic strides are being be taken in the education, entertainment, FMCG, retail, healthcare, mental & physical health, environment, and gender based violence sectors. These should hence be the focal points during the current economic shifts. Historically it is understood that whenever there is a global calamity, the countries that are well prepared and futuristic are the ones able to benefit on the heels of the calamity by redefining the way that things are viewed. India can be the country that challenges the global order to move to take control of the wheel UN is already seeing India as spearheading the Climate Change initiative

The world is going to be something that no one has seen, heard or experienced before and each of us can only be guessing about. It’s time to stop guessing and starting to play a role in that small or big.

- The question now for each of us as individuals and for India as a country is – ‘Would we be willing to Rise to the Occasion’ and take on the Global Upsurge coming our way, because if we are not we might just get drowned in the upsurge as whether we like it or not it’s here. I believe we can, both individually and collectively as a nation

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COVID-19 Viiveck Verma


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