Covid19 Tech Impact
Latest updates & innovations, in-depth resources, live webinars and guides to help businesses navigate through the impact of the COVID19 pandemic on India's economy.
It is T minus 5 and most Indians are now polling their friends online about whether the 21-day lockdown should extend or not. For those who were counting down the days, April 14 may not bring a piece of very happy news. However, the crux of the discussion is that the country needs to improve the situation before letting people go about their daily lives outside the home. And we have a long way to go for that.
However, there are discussions on the exit plan for lockdown too. In the latest discussion, IAMAI has come up to say that full opening of B2C services, in both products and services categories via ecommerce platforms is the first and most important step to return to normal economic activity. Normal economic activity according to the association broadly comprises the opening of manufacturing and services on one end and their availability to consumers on the other leading to people returning to livelihood albeit following health and hygiene guidelines to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
While going back to normal life remains debatable, authentic information about coronavirus is now also available on Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa. Amazon said that Amazon Echo users can now ask Alexa questions about coronavirus and get answers from sources like the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW).
Supporting Businesses Amid Pandemic
In a bid to support the companies facing challenges due to lockdown, robotic process automation (RPA) startup Automation Anywhere has introduced intelligent solutions to empower governments, healthcare organizations and businesses to implement remote working and business continuity programmes. While the company has brought in a few solutions for the government agencies including automating World Health Organisation’s clinical case form processing and employee risk assessment, it has also introduced tools to automate business processes that help in enabling remote work.
To further support the businesses, cloud ERP company GoFrugal said it is waiving the cost of their online ordering and delivery management applications for up to six months till September 30. The free bundled solution will help these store owners in two ways: OrderEasy for consumers to order and GoDeliver to manage deliveries efficiently.
In another business update, Quikr has launched two new listing platforms, StillOpen and HelpHospitals to keep the supply of all essential goods and services running. HelpHospitals allows the medical community to connect with suppliers of medical equipment and other materials needed for the treatment of Covid-19 patients and the safety of the medical staff. The service is available across India and Quikr says that Helphospitals is already seeing traction in Telangana, Delhi, Karnataka.
StillOpen allows consumers to keep track of all stores and essential services open near them. The company believes that this would help Indians in lockdown reduce time spent in searching for stores nearby. It will also list hospitals, pharmacies, ATMs, milk booths and Covid-19 testing centres.
Further, ICICI Bank has deployed mobile ATM vans at residential societies in National Capital Region (NCR) and Chennai. This enables citizens to withdraw cash, conveniently and safely at their doorstep and without having to venture out far from their premises during the COVID-19 outbreak. The Bank will shortly ply similar mobile ATM vans in Mumbai, Noida and some districts in UP.
Providing Masks, Sanitizers And Protective Gear
Flipkart has introduced medically-certified hand sanitizers and surgical masks under its private brand – Flipkart SmartBuy’s Health+ range. Utilising its existing infrastructure, the company aims to provide access to these locally manufactured essentials in light of the increasing demand by consumers amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Further, Cosmeto Food has also started manufacturing hand sanitizers. The company has now set up a special plant in Nalagarh, Himachal Pradesh, for producing quality hand sanitizers. As for PPE kits, myUpchar announced that it has tied up with a licensed manufacturer to make these kits available to medical staff in every town and village of India. The kits, available in packs of 10, 20 and 50 kits each, are especially geared towards smaller clinics and nursing homes which don’t have an assured supply of PPE. At the same time, Delhivery has provided 6000 masks for Delhi police personnel.
Further to support Covid-19 testing, Indus Health Plus announced its collaboration with SRL Diagnostic (India) Pvt. Ltd. to extend its services to conduct COVID-19 detection tests. The collaboration aims to focus on preventing and controlling disease transmission through extensive testing of COVID-19. Indus Health Plus has extended this facility in Gurugram, Delhi, Noida, Ghaziabad, and, Goa by collaborating with SRL Diagnostics.
In order to provide customers with a solution for their shipping needs during these trying times and to further use its Air Express Logistics service to keep the essential supply chain continuity, Blue Dart Express has reduced its Retail Tariff Prices by 25%. This will be applicable to all local retail customers as well as all MSMEs.
Uber Drivers Get Funds And More
Drivers on Uber’s platform have now started receiving the first batch of grants from INR 25 Cr deposited by Uber into the Uber Care Driver Fund, created in partnership with Give India and Samhita. Uber aims to raise an additional INR 17 Cr, to reach a combined target of INR 50 Cr, through contributions from its employees, riders, CSR funds and citizens through a partnership with Milaap, a leading crowdfunding organization, to look after the welfare and wellbeing of driver-partners on its platform.
Further, Ola Group has pledged a sum of INR 5 Cr to the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM CARES) Fund to support COVID-19 relief measures at a national level. The Group has also committed a sum of INR 3 Cr towards the Chief Minister’s Relief Funds of various states.
Atria Foundation — in association with Atria Education, ACT Fibernet, Atria Hospitality, Atria Power and other organisations — is providing daily food to the vulnerable people in Bengaluru. Through the initiative, ‘Serve Bengaluru’, the foundation serves 150K meals a day in more than 100 locations across the city.
Further, foodtech platform Dineout has launched ‘Project Thali’, a community-driven initiative that aims to connect the dots between volunteers, NGOs and the government ensuring everyone. Hosted in partnership with the non-profit World Help Group, this initiative is inviting people to donate rations, cooked food, volunteer or donate by means of guaranteeing food security for a vulnerable family for 15 days for INR 1400.
As part of the multiple initiatives undertaken by ITC in India’s fight against the coronavirus, the company is working closely with district administrations across 17 states in the country to provide essential food items like flour, noodles, biscuits and juices and hygiene products like soaps for people in distress. ITC has also set up a Contingency Fund of INR 150 Cr to provide relief to the vulnerable and most needy sections of society who have been harshly impacted by the pandemic. ITC has further pledged its contribution of INR 100 Cr towards PM CARES.