Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

Reimagining Business_article-resized

Eminent members of India Inc, speaking at the virtual edition of The Economic Times Global Business Summit centered around reimagining business during and a post-Covid-19 world, said that businesses and employees should start accepting the Covid-19 situation as the new normal and slowly move towards normalcy and growth.

Narayana Murthy, the co-founder of Indian IT services giant Infosys, said that India cannot continue to stay under lockdown conditions as more people will die from the resultant hunger problem. Murthy, also advised that lobby organization for technology companies in India, Nasscom, could do an experiment looking to transition towards normalcy. The result of the experiment can be shared with the government to help make more efficient decisions.

He also urged that young entrepreneurs should look at this crisis as an opportunity to come out with products or solutions that will help the fight against the new virus at a mass level.

While Indian businesses continue to bleed $4.5 billion approximately every day as it stays under lockdown, the United Nations Department of Social and Economic Affairs has revised the growth rate globally to just 0.9% from 2.5%. Rating agency Moody has given a similar forecast but only more grim.

These indicators and the lockdown, according to Murthy will also affect the government’s tax and GST collections kitty, making it difficult to provide aid in necessary areas for a quick comeback.

Businessmen duo and brothers, GP Hinduja and AP Hinduja, chairmen of the Hinduja Group, also touched upon the grim realities of the global economic situation and added that they were waiting for the government to provide a fiscal stimulus.

“We were expecting financial stimulus from the days of budget lookup. Unfortunately, nothing came in, and even now the support that’s being given is mainly to small businesses and MSEs and nothing for businessmen. In my view, it’s the big businessmen who can create employment, and I would request the government to take quick steps to support big business houses so that they can create bigger jobs,” the businessmen said.

Speaking with a focus on India, the brothers pointed out the Indian government needs to change policies around the automobile sector and stressed assets.

“We brothers are interested in stressed assets/projects but the system and the procedures which are there, they deprive us of going into it. We were really on the line to save Jet Airways. Everything was agreed but at the last moment, they said that they want to go through NCLT rule. Now once you go through NCLT rule, by that time due to the delay, the aircraft, the traffic, and other assets keep dwindling, and then it doesn’t work,” the brothers said.

The speakers at The Global Business summit also underlined the importance of marketing and how a new playbook is emerging due to the spread of the contagion.

According to Harris Diamond, chairman and CEO of McCann World group, companies should not stop marketing during such black swan events but should be very cautious about it.

“It is an important time to market, but it’s sensitive to watch how we are communicating and what’s the message”, Harris said.

He also added that the recovery from the emergency crisis will be slow, but he expects India to be a tad quicker than the rest of the world.

Speaking from the view of the hospitality sector, which is the worst hit in this crisis, founder of unicorn start-up, Oyo Rooms, Ritesh Agarwal said that the hotel industry will have to accept this as the new normal and design experiences with minimum physical interactions. He also said that the hotel industry is probably going to see a new standard of certification post-Covid-19 to ensure that guests are safe.

Further, Agarwal, stressing the new to help small business owners, said that the Covid-19-led situation will see new partnerships between companies in the hospitality segment to ensure the sector can recover faster. He, however, warned, that hotel staff and workplace conditions will change with a lot more focus on digital.

Focusing on specifically on start-ups and small and medium enterprises, Rajan Anandan, MD of Sequoia Capital, India, said that the country including the government has to help start-ups and SMEs a lot especially during this crisis period.

“Everybody in the ecosystem talks about funded startups, but only 10% startups in India are funded, and 80% of such startups are unprofitable.

Digital will become 10X more important in the coming times. This is going to make massive opportunities for IT and AI in India” – Rajan Anandan, MD, Sequoia Capital

Other speakers such as Sandip Patel, IBM India & South Asia, and Keshav Murugesh, CEO of WNS Group, also underlined how workplace conditions and the workforce in itself will change.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members