Urgent Reforms Needed for a COVID 19 Turnaround

With the massive outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, the country witnessed nationwide lockdown. The doors of office workforces were shut down, and employees were pushed towards virtual work from home policies.

The economic shift in the country made a huge population move towards the poverty line and lose thousands of employment means. The virtual remote working policies have opened a new passage to carry out with various work activities.

The economic degradation caused a devastating uproar in the distinct industries, and strategies were implemented to revive the economy.

However, with the government easing the lockdown rules and regulations, several organisations are looking for exceptional approaches to revive the economy back and provide employment to the population.

The COVID-19 outbreak has made authorities hunt for strategies to curb the health crisis. The issues of cut pay, removal from job positions, etc. need urgent solutions and authorities are working on the same

In an exclusive interview, AIMA Director-General Rekha Sethi speaks about the hurdles faced by the companies amidst the coronavirus outbreak. The interview provides an insightful view of the challenges faced by the stakeholders in adopting the ‘new normal’ work policies.

The Indian government has eased the lockdown regulations. Sethi was asked about her views on restarting of companies and businesses and an estimated period by which the businesses would attain normalcy.

To this, the director-general of AIMA answers that the country cannot provide economic support amidst the virus pandemic. Hence, the country has no other option than to ease the lockdown rules.

The nationwide lockdown has drained business and snatch the employment from the hands of the workers. Moreover, she also adds that it would require several months to attain stability. The hysteria revolving around the country makes it challenging for businesses to function with confidence.

On being asked about the new normal and remote working policy, the directors answer that the essential learning from remote working activities indicate that work can be done from any corner of the world.

The director was also asked about other core management lessons that prominent businesses were adopting and the key challenges faced by the setup. She adds that prominent business leaders that general travels and meeting for work purposes were useless.

The similar purpose could be have been achieved at lower costs by incorporating work from home and in-office activities.

Fewer support employees and lesser real estate policy must be adapted. Moreover, she also speaks about the essential investment required at the home front for carrying out work from the four walls of the house.

It requires digital security, digital supports, applications and an efficient digital infrastructure for the same. In addition to this, a smooth workflow system also requires better management approaches, ethics and etiquettes.

One of the greatest results of the pandemic was a change in the educational systems. Online education platforms have emerged as a key source of learning. Rekha Sethi was asked about the implications of the shift in the management of education across the country.

To this, she answered that the content available online was already utilised by major business schools but as a supplement to the classroom learning. However, she adds that the lockdown has provided a great weightage to virtual learning, and online internships have emerged as well.

AIMA has taken the initiative of allowing students to take the Management Aptitude Test (MAT) through online means. She adds that after the reopening of institutions, it is evident that the authorities would develop online capabilities and regulate them.

Rekha Sethi was further asked about the core areas that a manager needs to concentrate on adopting the post-COVID environment. The AIMA Director says that the managers will witness a changing world and have to practice better strategies.

The regular meetings would now be reported, instructed and managed through electronic means. Instead of shaking hands and signing documents, the same activities would be done virtually.

A data and algorithm guide for the managers would turn out to be effective. Automated means about business development processes and operation would also be required.

As a COVID-19 relief strategy, the government has announced an Rs. 20.97 lakh crore package in the name of Atmanirbhar Bharat Package to revive the lost economy. The director was asked about her views on the same.

She says that it is a courageous step to curb economic constraints. The funds would work on providing financial support to the businesses, and the strategy can deliver significant outcomes. Moreover, she adds that the agriculture and MSME sector could expect prominent results from the same.  

Rekha Sethi was asked about the drastic changes in the management programs and how the future business executives would prepare for a post- COVID corporate world. She says that technology would be centralised in the management programs and digital business models would be established.

Operating models, artificial intelligence, data science and analysis, virtual organisations and gig would form the core of these educational programs. She adds that specialisations would increasingly adapt to technological means as well.

The country has been witnessing prominent growth and turning into a global investment hub. It is also becoming a preferred hotspot for manufacturers aiming to eliminate several operations in China.

The AIMA director was asked about the issues India needs to address while achieving this mission. Sethi says that the paucity of modern infrastructure and manufacturing means play the greatest constrains.

The government is, however, making investments for the same. She adds that the ease of doing businesses is witnessing major challenges in the country. The government has effectively changed labour laws and has lowered tax rate for upcoming factories to the highest of east Asian countries.  

The Indian economy has reformed and regulated policies for making a quick turnaround. The AIMA director speaks about the clarity and certainty as to the fundamental parameters for a quick turnaround in the economic sphere.

The country requires key reforms in the employment sector, land rights and trade, education and other fields. She adds that the policies are required to be transparent and visible to achieve a faster turnaround.  

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Source: Money Control.