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BW Businessworld

Time To Re Think. Re Build

Our cover feature in this issue examines the announcements made by the government and the industry reactions to it.

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“Study the past if you would define the future.” — Confucius

It was 20:20 hours on May 12 and 50 days into the lockdown, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi first gave a hint of what he had in mind for an Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India) and to revive the nation’s bruised economy. He promised the nation a Rs 20 lakh crore revival package, amounting to 10 per cent of the country’s GDP. Over the next few days, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman shared details of this package in five tranches, offering not just a stimulus for an economy under lockdown, but also wide-ranging reforms that should take the country forward in the medium and long-term.

On Sunday, when she announced reliefs for state governments which are now revenue-deficit, she said she had addressed the Prime Minister’s commitment to reforms in land, labour, liquidity and laws. A new public sector enterprises (PSE) policy is in the offing, enabling PSEs to be privatised in all sectors except a few strategic ones, in which at least one enterprise will remain as a PSE. Through the week, reliefs were also announced for specific segments of the economy, like the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), farmers and their need for an Agri Infrastructure Fund, vendors and food security for migrant workers during the lockdown. Finally, came some rather big bang reforms, like raising the foreign direct investment (FDI) limit in defence production and more private sector participation in coal mining.

Amidst the accolades for the measures to inject liquidity into the economy, were voices of sceptics, who wondered if the stimulus though ‘good’, was also ‘adequate’. Yes, more can be done, but let us be grateful for what has been done and let us look at what we can collectively do for one another during these trying times. Our cover feature in this issue examines the announcements made and the industry reactions to it.

Other features in the magazine include an overview of the work done to develop a vaccine for this deadly pandemic that now threatens to destroy life as we know it. We examine the state of the manufacturing sector and analyse the steps needed to revive it. Conversations these days revolve around what the post-COVID-19 world will look like and we have an in-depth feature on what that means for leadership. In the new world order where the operative word will be Contactless, we have found that the words Caring and Collaborative will also be in synchrony with it. The 3C’s together will be the way forward and thus, the new focus of leaders of the day.

The post-COVID-19 scenario will also bring about a change in the dialogue on privacy and digital security with online frauds, problems with contact tracing apps and cybercriminals attacking businesses on the rise. Our feature on privacy highlights these aspects and focuses on what to expect in the future.

In addition, and as usual, we have our regular columns that all of you look forward to. I do hope you enjoy reading this issue, just as much as we did writing it.

Happy Reading!

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Rs 20 Lakh Crore Stimulus Package nirmala sitharaman