In the third phase of lockdown in the country, the government has been trying to bring more business activity back on track to revive the economy, albeit at a gradual pace. Appreciating the role of startups in fighting the pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a meeting said that the problem of importing testing kits and agents is one of the areas that Indian startups are making a difference in, even as the lockdown continues.
Modi also appreciated the role of computer science, chemistry and biotechnology in drug discovery. The Prime Minister also suggested that the government should hold a hackathon to link computer science to synthesis and testing in the laboratory. He added that successful candidates from the hackathon could be taken up by the startups for further development and scaling up.
In more support for businesses, the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) is launching an SME service platform to facilitate the digitisation of small businesses and make access to credit easier for those caught in a cash crunch owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. The platform would also include several features to help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) resume their operations remotely.
SIDBI has clarified that non-banking financial companies (NBFCs), and digital lending startups could leverage its eKYC services for paperless onboarding of new customers. Moreover, the platform will also focus on scaling up the adoption of e-signatures in regular contracting, credit processing, and other documents.
Access To Healthcare
In an attempt to boost access to healthcare, Medlife has partnered with Snapdeal for users to order medicines and avail full-body health check-ups and curative diagnostic tests through the Snapdeal platform. Consumers can order medicines online with a valid prescription through Snapdeal and Medlife’s dedicated delivery personnel will deliver the order at the customer’s doorstep within 24 hours following order confirmation.
Further, Hyderabad-based corporate health benefits startup ekincare is offering free telemedicine services to employees of more than 600 companies and their dependents.
The company’s customers include Unilever, eBay, Nike, Kotak Mahindra, Grofers, Faasos, XOXOday and BYJU’s among others. Ekincare said it has built a symptom checker for self-assessment, temperature tracking into the platform which enables employees and their dependents to check themselves for the coronavirus symptoms, seek doctor consults if at risk, followed by Covid-19 RT-PCR testing if required by ICMR approved network partners pan India.
Keeping Businesses On Track
In retail, retail commerce platform DOT has launched a QR-based contactless commerce and payment solution that will enable 2500 retailers to resume business recovery by eliminating all high touch elements in the retail environment and ensuring minimal human contact. DOT’s contactless retail solutions can help restore customer trust and also ensure streamlined business operations in line with the social distancing and safety norms.
Work from home solutions provider Kredily has now launched two free of cost offerings for video conferencing and team collaboration. Greet is built to keep the team connected on any device, enabling our clients to keep work moving from anywhere. It is a secure, fully-featured, and completely Free Video Conferencing solution for organizations.
Kredily has also launched its new chat and collaboration tool Reach. It creates opportunities for all team members to interact, share documents, create team channels, and more.
Uber created a global buzz for its plans to lay off over 3700 employees and chief executive officer Dara Khosrowshahi foregoing his base salary for the remainder of the year. The layoffs included its customer support and recruiting teams, and Uber expects to incur about $20 Mn in costs for severance and related charges.
In India, the company announced that it has now extended its UberMedic service free of charge to two more leading public hospitals in New Delhi, Lady Hardinge Medical College and Kalawati Saran Children’s Hospital for transporting frontline healthcare workers. Uber Essential is now available in Bengaluru, Bhopal, Hyderabad, Indore, Mumbai, Nashik, Bhubaneswar and Mohali.