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Brands To Focus On Self-Reliant India Post COVID-19

Sustaining businesses and meeting customer demands requires the collective efforts of all stakeholders – organizations, the government of India, industry bodies, and the consumer.

Photo Credit :


Oppo Manufacturing Unit, Greater Noida

Impact Of COVID – ‘The Need For Business Sustenance’

The year 2020, brought with itself one of the most disruptive health challenges in recent history –the COVID 19 pandemic. In these unprecedented times, each nation is working to craft a balanced strategy that will enable them to save lives and at the same time restore economic activity.  The outbreak of Covid-19 and government-mandated social distancing norms has impacted various sectors and while short-term repercussions are likely to be seen in the coming months, India’s long-term fundamentals remain sound. 

In a report by McKinsey, it is estimated that India’s GDP in the first quarter of the fiscal year could shrink by 20 per cent compared with the previous one. When the nation was under complete lockdown, business sustenance was a major task that needed to be undertaken. 

Organizations had to fast track their digitalization journey, with most of its task force working remotely. Multiple changes needed to be made overnight in terms of the infrastructure, communication etc. to make this mammoth task possible. While a smooth conversion might be difficult in the short run, but as we progress, industries like telecom, manufacturing, electronics etc. can witness a huge transformation. 

Sustaining businesses and meeting customer demands require the collective efforts of all stakeholders – organizations, the government of India, industry bodies, and the consumer. The government also came forth to extend support to organizations at all levels. The Government of India introduced the initiative of India becoming self-reliant through strengthening key pillars like – Economy, Infrastructure, System, Demography, and Demand. 

Brands moving from ‘Purpose-led’ to ‘Purpose bred’

This movement opens a wide opportunity for the ‘Indian brands’ – meaning the brands that are operating, manufacturing, and employing within the country and for its citizens. While India has always been a great market and an emerging production hub, now is the time for brands to develop India’s production capacity by working on the country’s distinct strengths and weaknesses across factors such as wages, market accessibility, and infrastructure. During devising a strategy to further the Make in India campaign, brands must understand the supply chain. Brands with operations in other nations bring the experience and expertise needed in this development. 

The role of brands headquartered outside India but operating in India cannot be ignored in the process. These brands hold the potential to bridge the gap between the requirements of foreign capital for increasing foreign investment in India. 

These brands also encourage the transfer of highly sophisticated technology to developing countries which are essential for raising the productivity of working-class and enable us to start new productive ventures requiring high technology. With more and more brands focussing on the India chapter of their development, they are also investing in the development of global research and development centres in the country.

As we move further and further ahead in achieving these commitments to the Indian market, opportunities across sectors and roles will open up. The support and development of local communities is an imperative factor for brands to maximize their potential. They need to work in synchronization with these communities and engage with them to understand customer ideology as well. The manufacturing hubs opened to increase production will employ local task force, the Indian R&D centres will need experts from within the community to understand their needs and then develop products for them. Hence it is the need of the hour for us as individuals to continue learning and for brands to introduce and upskill the regional talent with the latest technology. Working together is what will help us revive, grow and sustain in the long run. 

The path to becoming Self – Reliant 

This movement of becoming self-reliant is what will charter the next course of growth for both – Brand INDIA and Indian brands. It is important for both the legs of the machinery to work in tandem and develop India. We need to work together at all levels to promote literacy, skilling and thus in turn, employment. India is rich in talent and some multiple skilled artisans and individuals need the right platform to showcase their innovation. The R&D centres set up across the nation by brands can serve as that platform to engage and recognise and in turn innovate with the community to develop solutions for the world. The government is also taking steps to encourage business growth and the upliftment of the Indian economy and Indian man. We, as a country need to believe that together we can. It is the unified and collaborative efforts of the individual, the brand, and the government that will make India ‘Atma Nirbhar’.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Tasleem Arif

Tasleem Arif is the Vice President and Head of R&D at OPPO India. In his current role, he is responsible for driving localized consumer-centric innovation in India, overseeing software development for OPPO smartphones and boosting OPPO’s Make for India initiative. Under his aegis, OPPO’s India R&D team also undertakes extensive research on the Indian consumers to derive insights to help serve the Indian market better.

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