A webinar was organized by the Programme of Marketing contributed by MarkBuzzz the official Marketing club of XISS in collaboration with the Indian Economic Association on 7th August, 2020 on “The New Normal and Its Impact on The Indian Economy”. The event was a big success with over 350 + participants joining in to gain knowledge from the guest speakers. The event started with a welcome speech given by Vaishnavi Shrivastava, a second year student of Marketing programme of XISS, where she introduced all the keynote speakers, esteemed guests and faculty members.
Opening remarks were given by Dr. Pinaki Ghosh, Head of Programme, Marketing, XISS. He started his remark by addressing the fact that “The new normal” is the buzzword in the world today. He also quoted Charles Darwin – “survival of the fittest” shedding light on the objectives of the webinar. Being a part of the education system he also focused on how B-schools and other higher education institutions have a role in delivering the relevant skill set to the students so as to realize and bridge the gap that the human resource is facing in this period. He also briefly talked about Digitization and how it is going to shape and reshape our lives in the coming future.
Dr. Fr. Joseph Marianus Kujur, Director XISS also addressed the session, putting further light to the situation prior the pandemic and how dramatically the situation have changed during the pandemic. He talked about the new issues concerning the new normal and how it has impact the world and Indian economy. He elaborated on the fact that the Indian Economy was already facing a financial crisis which worsen due to the pandemic. India saw 5 years’ worth of digital transformation in merely 5 months. He particularly focused on unemployment concerning the state of Jharkhand. He briefly talked about the unemployment rate of Jharkhand which is 33.6% and the state stands 2nd in terms of unemployment rate after the state of Haryana. He provided the data according to which the unemployment rate in India as on 15th July, 2020 was 8.4% which further bifurcates as 10.4% in the urban areas and 7.3% in the rural area. Fr. Kujur, quoted Sundar Pichai saying “the world won’t be the same and the new normal should not be the lens with which we should measure the world now”. Further adding to the discussion he said, the language of new normal is a ladder to combat Corona virus economically and that it sanitizes the idea of normal and teaches us that even the worse of the challenges can be managed given the vision is clear.
The first guest speaker of the event was Prof. Dr. Mahendra Dev, Director and vice chancellor, Indira Gandhi Institute for Development and Research. He started by addressing that the two issues that India is facing in the current hour that is the health crisis and economic crisis. When it comes to health crisis, India is comparatively at a better state than the other economies as the fatality rates are low. Yet, the virus is spreading at a greater pace in rural and suburban India which is again a point of concern for us all. Being an economist, he profusely addressed the economic crisis, shedding light on the economic condition prior covid-19, which indicated high rates of unemployment and a slow down which added to the dilemma. He addressed that the women employment rates fell from 48% to 23% which was a red flag for the economy prior the pandemic. The complete lockdown affected both formal and informal sectors of work and as of now it is predicted that the growth rates might fall to a negative percentage if remedies are not taken in time. He focused on rural India and stated that, revival of rural India is the need of the hour. He also mentioned few big changes that the nation will see, concerning the geopolitical changes, trade wars between nations which will directly impact India. He briefly addressed the changes in work culture, gig economy, financial and education sector which are slowly coping up amidst the situation.
He also answered the question “What should be done to revive the economy?” by adding that the government should primarily focus on
- investment on infrastructure in both rural and urban areas
- focus on human resource in terms of health and education
- social transfer through promoting cashless economy
The next keynote speaker was Prof. Praveen Jha, from Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, JNU. He started his speech by saying, “don’t think of it as the new normal as it is a completely abnormal situation”. He put forward his views by shedding light on the past 5 years of the economy and how it was an act of commission and omission of the central government that worsened things prior the pandemic. He added that the 4 hour notice in 2016 that is demonetization and a very ill-conceived structure of GST were assaults to the economy, which messed up the bottom half of the economic structure of India. He ended his speech by saying that raising resource immediately would help the economy and the citizens of India. He put forward his views by saying that monetization of the debt is one probable solution in this hour and that the government should focus on agriculture, small players of the industry and address the issues and needs of MSMEs. He ended saying, “Do not wait for tomorrow as some of them might not survive till then”
The third guest speaker of the webinar was Mr. Anand Sagar, Program Director and Head of Development at Ericsson, India. He started his speech by explaining the concept of VUCA world (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) and how fit is it to describe the situation today. He addressed by saying that the pandemic is actually a blessing in disguise as it is a propelling item to digitization. The pandemic is causing enormous human suffering globally as it is mentally challenging for everyone. He added further to the session by describing the supply side and demand side shock that the economy faced during the situation. He presented his views on overcoming the situation through five points:
- creating greater value
- digital transformation and analytics
- system thinking
- increasing productivity, safety and flexibility
He said digitization has a bright future in India considering the developments in investments by Google and Jio’s deals with big players in the market. Being an expert on the field on digitization, he ended his speech by saying that the following areas that is 5G/IOT, AI, Neo banks, cyber security, should be focused on by the education sector and corporate sector to adapt better in the coming future.
Dr. B.P Chandramohan, General secretary, Indian Economic Association, addressed the session by thanking all the keynote speakers and briefly talked about how digitization and mental adaptability is the key to understanding the new normal.
Dr. Sandhya Rani Das, Joint secretary, Indian Economic Association also spoke on how E-commerce proved to the be the pillar of strength in the current situation. She also said innovation in food and essentials home delivery, manufacturing and safety of manufacturing sector workers, online household services and banking is what kept the economy alive amidst the situation.
The attendees of the webinar enjoyed the session and also asked questions to the esteemed guest speakers. The moderator of the question and answer round was Dr. Pooja, Professor of Programme of Marketing, XISS. Since most of the attendees were students, who are about to join the workforce, their main concern was to know how to prepare themselves for the road ahead and what skill sets to focus upon.
To which Mr. Anand Sagar, beautifully responded by saying “ it is about demonstrating that you are fit for the VUCA world and that you know how to survive, so rather than focusing on your technical skills only, one should also focus on building their personalities which fits in today’s world”
The question and answer session also addressed the new education policy and how it will benefit the workforce and the economy. The speakers had a unanimous view that the essence of the new education policy is to focus on skills rather than just marks and degrees, which will help every sector grow.
The webinar ended with a vote of thanks by Dr. Tina Murarka, Professor of programme of marketing, XISS. The concluding remarks were given by Dr. Bhabani Prasad Mahapatra from Programme of Marketing who was also the coordinator of this webinar.