The economic game plan is changing

The economic game plan is changing

Unfortunately, we are not yet able to predict exactly when we will come out of this virus situation. As far as the industry and business are concerned, it has left us in a quandary. There is no doubt that individuals, institutions, small and big businesses will all take a hit and in the immediate future, there will be a lot of pain. 

Many businesses may have to rebuild from the scratch and rethink how they function – they cannot sit back and operate how they used to. Certain markets that are important – like tourism, aviation and textile – will not bounce back so soon. In case what they are doing collapses, industry and business leaders should not go into a depressive mode but see how to recalibrate and seek out new possibilities which could open up for them to flourish.

This is definitely a disruption but disruption always has hidden opportunities. The question is whether we are agile, brave and competent enough to seize the opportunity. What looks like a destructive tsunami is a dream come true for a good surfer. The world’s economic dynamics will change. 

Particularly in Asia, we must ride that change. Several governments that are behind large economies are looking at shifting their industry out of China to other nations in Asia like Vietnam, Cambodia and Malaysia, but India is currently standing as a first option. As we have been largely left out of the economic development in Asia, the way I see our prospects, this is the time for us to catch up.

We have to get our act together. Like the way the central and state governments have become very agile and effective in dealing with the pandemic, the industry, businesses and entrepreneurs must all get ready for the economic game. The Union government will take steps to recharge the economic process in terms of loans, interest and EMIs, and businesses must participate to ensure these incentives are substantial. 

As new opportunities present themselves, businesses should remember that the human potential that they carry in their organisation is very vital. If people are laid off just because of a few weeks of lockdown, building back business will become a serious challenge. It is very important that organisations keep in touch and hold on to their human capital, negotiate their pay and nurture them to whatever extent their finances allow. 

Even post-lockdown, it may take months for the markets to come back. During these times, you will need people who will work for your business like their life depends on it; otherwise businesses will fail. If you want them to work like this, you first have to show them that you are committed to their life and wellbeing. Only then will you get their reciprocal response of commitment to the wellbeing of your business. 

Youthful country

The greatest wealth we have in this country right now is human resource. We are the most youthful country in the world, with more than half our population below 25 years of age. The advantage of this demographic dividend will remain with us for only 15 years. 

With the disruption caused by the virus, this is the time to unleash this vast human potential. For this, we need human beings who are inspired, focused, balanced and disciplined towards a certain purpose. Businesses should play an important role in nurturing and harnessing this talent, because after all, industries need various skills. 

For generations, it was the institution of the family which delivered skills to people. That process has been broken now and cannot be rebuilt. But the new family of private enterprise should invest in training individuals from a very young age.

When it came to the virus, the leadership at the national and state levels, across the board, responded in a very resolute manner. It is an incredible effort. We must learn from this situation – by coming together how effectively we managed the crisis as compared to many other nations that have much better medical infrastructure than us. It has been our nation's history that we all come together and act resolutely only when there is a mortal threat to us. 

Otherwise, we function like we are 10 different nations at a time. We must cross this problem now. If we can maintain this sense of determination in the years to come, I do not think we have to fear anything. We will bounce back with great resilience. This has been the land of entrepreneurs, a millennia-old culture; we will not be obliterated in 12 months’ time.

If we can ensure that our fatalities due to the virus are contained, this is an opportunity of a lifetime for our generation. As a nation, our businesses must gear up and position themselves into the right place. If everyone in this country moves from personal ambition to a larger vision, then our genius will express itself and we will do things that we have not imagined possible. We could be the greatest miracle in the coming century. 

(The writer is Founder, Isha Foundation)

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