With India announcing a national lockdown, several traditional sectors have taken an unprecedented digital approach. India Prime Minister Narendra Modi believes that this would set the wheels rolling for new businesses and a new culture of work.
In a LinkedIn post published on April 19, Modi said, “India, a youthful nation known for its innovative zeal, can take the lead in providing a new work culture.”
The PM added that the workplaces are going digital-first under the lockdown and there is no reason not to embrace technology to get work done. He also said that the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact will create several new business models and work culture models. As part of his advice to business owners and entrepreneurs, Modi also offered ‘five vowels’ as the key to surviving this crisis: adaptability, efficiency, inclusivity, opportunity, and universalism.
By focussing on these aspects, Modi said, businesses can minimise the impact from the lockdowns and the pandemic.
The integration of digital payments in the Indian economy is the prime example of adaptability. Big shop owners to small, everyone has adapted to digital payments well to keep commerce connected. Telemedicine and teleconsultation are at the same path of success as digital payments with growing numbers and integration, however, there is still scope of innovation here.
“Another example is telemedicine. We are already seeing several consultations without actually going to the clinic or hospital. Again, this is a positive sign. Can we think of business models to help further telemedicine across the world?”
Moreover, he emphasised on the need to invest in innovation to make information, machinery and the market more accessible for farmers, no matter what the situation is. This would also allow undisrupted access to essential goods.
Modi also spoke about the digital side of logistics, which has allowed the experts to control global supply chains from home.
“India, with the right blend of the physical and the virtual can emerge as the global nerve centre of complex modern multinational supply chains in the post-COVID-19 world. Let us rise to that occasion and seize this opportunity.”
Adapting To Digital World
Talking from the government’s perspective, Modi added that the most transformational impact of technology often happens in the lives of the poor as it helps in demolishing bureaucratic hierarchies, eliminating middlemen and accelerates welfare measures.
He also cited examples of the digital initiatives that the government has taken up earlier, which proved useful for a time like this. This included providing Jan Dhan Accounts, and linking them to Aadhaar and mobile numbers to electronically transfer money to those who need government benefits to sustain themselves.
“India has perhaps the largest such infrastructure in the world. This infrastructure has helped us tremendously in transferring money directly and immediately to the poor and needy, benefiting crores of families, during the COVID-19 situation,” – PM Narendra Modi
Besides this, the government is also offering remote education opportunities with DIKSHA portal and SWAYAM, which is aimed at improving access, equity and quality of education. Meanwhile, the government is also providing books and learning material in several languages through the E-Pathshala portal.