In the wake of the nationwide lockdown enforced to prevent the spread of Covid-19, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant on Saturday said that India’s supply chain will get “massively disrupted” and that the nature of work too will change.
“Supply chains will get massively disrupted; we are also in the midst of industrial revolutions 4.0.” Kant said. “
“The pandemic has created a unique challenge, which is complex and unpredictable. How do we skill our people for new kinds of jobs? We are heading into a totally new world. We need new courses—our IITs, engineering and educational institutions are all outdated with their curriculums.”
Kant was speaking at a video conference on ‘Covid-19 and the Future of Work’ with the country director for World Bank Junaid Ahmad, chairman of Hero Enterprise Sunil Munjal, president of Nasscom Debjani Ghosh; chairman of TeamLease Manish Sabharwal, and co-founder of Urban Company Abhiraj Bhal.
World Bank country director Junaid Ahmad said that there will be a fundamental shift in the way we work.
“Change was already happening, which started with the shock of climate change and how that has changed the economy worldwide. A decade ago, we had thought climate change would have a devastating impact on developing countries and that they would not be able to adjust. India has put in so much resources in creating renewable energy and shifting its nature of energy. So change has always been there. What the virus, Covid-19, has done, is that it has created another shock and continued to put us on the path of change. For me, it is the acceleration of that change. So, no, we don’t go back to the world as it was, we go forward in terms of continuing to adapt to new realities,” he said. “I see a very different type of social protection system, I see a different type of health system, I see very different type of informal economy, which becomes the new normal—informal becomes the new normal. I see fundamental shifts in the way we work, but see these as parts of the changes that have been happening.”
Ghosh said the pandemic should be used to drive radical changes and businesses need to be reinvented.
“If we don’t use this opportunity to drive those radical changes, it’s our loss. We must completely reinvent business. Today, Rajesh Gopinathan, CEO of TCS, made a very powerful statement. He said, we really don’t have to be 100% back at work for productivity, it can be 25%. And TCS has come out with a vision, saying we are going to be 25/25, which means by 2025, they will be only 25% on campus and the rest working from home. We are going to see a mix of online and offline—we are going to see a blended model and that is going to stay. This will bring about a few changes. One, it’s going to change workplaces forever—how we look at them, how we design them, etc,’ she said. “It’s going to give a huge boost to the gig economy, because when you are working from home, you will realise you have far more opportunities to do more things. Three, and I one I’m very excited about, is that it will bring about the much-needed balance in the workplace, in terms of getting the other gender more involved. These fundamental changes are not going away anywhere. As an industry, we must reinvent our business model.”
Human behaviours will spring back to what they were once things settled down but the nature of jobs will change said Sunil Munjal.
“Will we go watch a cricket match three years from now? Yes, I think, we will; we will go to a stadium. We will also go to movie theatres. But the nature of jobs itself will change. The use of remote work, technology and communication will change many, many things in the way we do them today. So, some changes are here to stay. But some will go back once people feel comfortable to move around, socialize. I do believe efforts on public health will change, on preventive health will change….Business is questioning itself: what is the new model it would like to follow once things get back to normal? How many do you want boxed into an office? How much remote work is okay? How many do you want working for hours? And how many do want based only on output? The right attitude and the abilities to learn and skill will be very important while hiring new talent. So some changes will be here to stay and some new ones will develop after this,” he said.