COVID-19: 21 days of nation-wide lockdown ahead - Is India Inc. ready?
The COVID-19 crisis is deepening its impact on the nation and more and more stringent measures are being taken to ensure we fight it out. Addressing the nation for the second time in the past one week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a nation-wide lockdown for the next three weeks and urged the citizens to stay home for this period. He said, “You all can witness what’s happening in the world as a result of the outbreak of COVID-19. This pandemic has crippled even the most capable nations.”
The government is taking the necessary steps to fight the current situation and appealed to the citizens of the country to cooperate in the fight against COVID-19. The Prime Minister has asked the employers not to cut salaries and slash jobs in this situation. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also made some announcements where she has given relaxation in the filing of GST, ITR, and other returns till June 30th.
With this upcoming lockdown for three weeks, is the world of work ready to face such a situation? While companies across the country were not prepared for this crisis, they were somehow managing with measures such as work from home, virtual meetings, and conferences. Organizations from across industries are doing all that they can to stand against this crisis, but with the three weeks of lockdown, they would need to stretch more in all the possible directions.
The only positive thing for employers is that they were prepared to some extent. Many companies had initiated work from home, implemented travel restrictions, and formed crisis management teams, which will help them continue their operations in the coming three weeks.
Organizations will take some time to find an answer to this situation, but they need to be prepared enough to deal with this crisis. If they believe in themselves, they will be able to sail through. Corporates should take this as an opportunity and navigate cautiously to find a concrete solution. We are witnessing things that have never happened before, like, the Supreme Court hearing cases virtually and all the government ministries operating via video conferencing.
PM Modi thanked the employees from all the sectors who are giving their best to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. He said, “I request you with folded hands to think and pray about those who are providing essential services while putting their lives on the line - from doctors, nurses, pathologists to sanitation workers and policemen. Think about them. They are working 24x7 in hospitals to fight this pandemic. Think of ward boys, ambulance drivers, cleaners. Think of those who are sanitizing your society, your homes. Think of people in the media who are working 24x7 to keep you informed.”
Addressing the private employers, he said, “I am certain that the private sector stands with every citizen of the country in these challenging times.”
The center has also announced a package of Rs 15,000 crore to strengthen the healthcare infrastructure in the country.
While the days ahead will be tough on every person and every organization in the country, it is in times like this that we all need to stand together to ensure we fight this crisis with all our might.
Also read- COVID-19: Responding to people & work implications - A step by step guide by People Matters