The COVID-19 pandemic which is yet to play out fully in India so far, will lead to massive job losses which portend a worsening of underlying crisis. India’s economy has faced three big blows over the last decade. First, the global financial crisis of 2008, which saw the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate collapse to 3.9%—the lowest growth rate since 1991. Then, in November 2016, India saw , demonetization. And now we have the Covid-19 pandemic. The virus has spread widely, and the number of cases is rising daily as governments work to slow its spread. India has moved quickly, implementing a proactive, nationwide, lock downs, with the goal of flattening the curve and using the time to plan and resource responses adequately. Countries that are experiencing COVID-19 have adopted different approaches to slow the spread of the virus. Some have tested extensively, carried out contact tracing, limited travel and large gatherings, encouraged physical distancing, and quarantined citizens. Others have implemented full lock downs in cities with high infection rates and partial lock downs in other regions, with strict protocols in place to prevent infections.
Besides the massive social disruption that COVID-19 has caused in the last few weeks, there has also been a significant—and adverse—economic impact. Many companies and organizations have had to re-evaluate their business continuity plans and exigency strategies. Many companies have asked their employees to work from home to ensure social distance and prevent community based infection.
Looking for a job in the current climate is hard. Apart from delivery services and health-care providers, not many employers are hiring in the middle of this pandemic. But it’s not all doom and gloom. “Once the economy starts to reopen, many firms who have laid-off workers during the lock down will need new staff and this will create opportunities, “Review your CV, update your LinkedIn and close skill gaps, Ask yourself how important job security is to you and what roles are better for this”.
The prime beneficiary of the COVID-19 situation is the digital sector, so to say. The companies and businesses that are a part of the digital world have only risen in terms of usage and popularity among the masses. With people staying at home and looking for entertainment mediums, OTT platforms have benefited the most. The telecommunication industry has not faced any negative impact due to the lock down because the usage of mobile phones has increased drastically with the enabling of work from home methods. Transport of essential supplies, services and materials has helped transportation sector to survive this look down.
There are several industries and sectors that have currently stalled all operations due to the lock down, but nonetheless, are expected to bounce back and revive immediately once the situation is controlled and starts moving back to normalcy. E- commerce platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, etc have been confined to only delivering essential goods and groceries. Some of the hard-hit sectors are expected to take a longer time to revive and get back on track and simultaneously make profits. The real-estate industry is expected to see a downfall as well. Tourism is one of that, even after the locked down people are expected to avoid unnecessary travel. Due to the rise in the demand of employment migrant laborers are likely to play a key role in agriculture sector even at lesser wages. Once the situation normalizes and the locked down restriction are lifted it is certain that people will go and socialize as earlier or grab their favorite dish at their favorite restaurant and the sales are expected to rise. Movies are the major source of entertainment for people, and once movies start releasing, people will visit theaters. However, this may take time, but a rise in business is expected. People may also look at buying personal vehicles to avoid public transport due to corona virus.
The unemployment data will have to read with care. When jobs disappear suddenly as happened during demonetization and now with COVID-19, sometimes the unemployment data seems to improve merely because people have stopped looking for jobs. It is important to prepare yourselves and secure your future with changing times and the needs that are expected to rise – something that a global pandemic has taught us! While COVID-19 may be devastating every aspect of life, we should not lose the opportunity to learn and grow. However long lock down lasts, try not to get discouraged. “See it as an opportunity to reshape your future”. As the former President of India A. P. J. Abdul Kalam said, “Man needs difficulties in life because they are necessary to enjoy the success.” As India gears up to overcome the corona virus pandemic, the power of our indomitable spirit, integrity, grit, and collective efforts can provide an impetus for change. The choice is ours.