The Silver Lining in India Amidst the COVID Cloud

In the book Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari says that humans rule the world because they can cooperate in extremely flexible ways with countless number of strangers. This very skill stands at the cross roads today with the eruption of COVID-19. Humans have been moving mountains with their social skills and networking ability. Can we do the same in eradicating the deadly virus?

Coronavirus disease also known as COVID-19, an infectious disease has taken the entire world by storm. Most nations in the world have gone under a complete lockdown to curb COVID-19. The virus which has proven fatal to more than 45000 people, has no vaccination on the horizon and is also taking a toll on the world economy.

Harvard University experts warn that the global economy has not looked as fragile since the Great Depression of the 1930s – a worldwide economic depression that lasted 10 years. During the depression, one out of four people lost their jobs, thousands of banks failed and lakhs of companies went bankrupt. However, the hard times did not last forever and in the middle of difficulty lay opportunity. It was during the Great Depression that many interesting inventions were made and innovative products, launched. The first super market, car radio, chocolate bar – Snickers, chocolate chip cookies, board game-Monopoly are some examples.

Innovations in products are definitely not the need of the hour, as we are technologically at our best. Many changes are being brought about to our routine processes and systems.

Whilst the economy looking gloom, thanks to technology, staying within four walls has not brought life to a standstill. Organisations including news channels are being run from home and online lesson plans have been initiated for students across the globe. Donations in cash and in kind are being made at Individual, entrepreneurial and administrative levels. While monetary contributions are pouring endlessly into the PM Cares Fund (Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund) and the individual state funds some very innovative contributions are being made in kind;

Indian Entrepreneurs Shining their Armour

Byju’s, the learning app is supporting students by enabling them to download and access content for free until April 2020.

Zoho Corporation has launched ‘Remotely’, a virtual collaboration tool & productivity platform, available free of cost till July 1, 2020.

Reliance Industries Limited’s Jio has announced to provide double data offer and additional talk time to encourage employees to work from home and maintain social distancing.

Anand Mahindra offered the resorts owned by his company to be utilised as temporary care facilities. Mahindra has also joined hands with the Government of India to make ventilators/life support systems in its manufacturing plants to fight the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Billionaire Philanthropist Dr Cyrus Poonawalla of Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd. And his team are working on developing a vaccine to eradicate Coronavirus.

The favourite biscuit company of India, Parle has promised to distribute three crores of Parle – G biscuits through government organisations.

Taj group of hotels volunteered to send free meals to Mumbai’s government hospitals. Several hotels under the Taj Group are also offering rooms to medical workers in order to help them cut down on the commute time for their convenience and for the safety of their families.

Amar Chitra Katha is providing a thirty day free access to its publications ‘Tinkle’ and ‘Amar Chithra Katha’, creating ideal social distancing scenario for kids.

Role of the Government of India

Indian Government is gearing up to convert one of its biggest assets, the train coaches to isolation wards in case the number of Covid-19 cases in India rise rapidly and the situation worsens. One prototype quarantine facility has already been created.

Finance Minister of India, Nirmala Seetharaman has clarified that any spending on Covid-19 would be deemed as CSR spend in order to encourage more allocation of financial resources towards the cause.

With a view to provide temporary relief to borrowers affected by the 21 day nationwide lockdown, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has declared a moratorium of three months on bank loan repayment. The borrowers can now defer their EMIs upto three months at an additional interest.

There is a sea of donations being made ranging from a seven year old boy from Chennai who donated his life savings to Azim Premji who donated INR 1125 crores! It is good to see people come together for a cause despite socially distancing themselves.

Along with all the donations that are being made to fight the deadly Coronavirus, we are also unintentionally contributing to the revival of Mother Nature by staying indoors. Several wild animals are being spotted roaming in the streets, in India and the world over, hence proving that the ordeal faced by humans is proving to be a blessing to animals.

In a few months’ time, we may even eradicate the COVID 19 virus from the face of our planet, just like we have eradicated several other deadly viruses in the past. Until then, may human beings continue to move mountains, while maintaining good social distancing!!