If we take ourselves back to the month of January, we would have had a plethora of things planned in the months to come. Coming back from the retrospection to the current unprecedented pandemic situation, we have a lot of questions. Questions about the conception of this worldwide problem, precautions, and measures to get out of it soon, but the most prevalent question is how it will affect our future.
The future of national and global economies, quality of life after the pandemic, impact on the jobs of people and many more. This situation unlike some other disaster or natural calamity or epidemic has not been experienced before and hence could not be predicted. Yet with the help of qualified health professionals, epidemiologists, and other experts in the field of healthcare and statisticians, there could be an idea of how it will pan out.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19, also known as coronavirus has led to the entire world in mayhem and is hence something we all know and are concerned about. But not all of us are aware about the complete details. Caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-Cov2), the virus was known to have originated from Wuhan, China in December, 2019. With over 3.6 million cases worldwide and 187 countries and territories affected, the virus has created a pandemic situation. It is often spread between people through close contact, often via droplets dispersed while coughing, sneezing, or even talking. The symptoms include common cold, fever, fatigue, breathlessness, and loss of smell.
Impacts on different industries:-
With countries imposing 2-3 lockdowns lasting for at least a fortnight, the obvious repercussions will be on the daily lives of people and on the industries. Let us analyze the situation in India in depth-
Impact on the Indian economy-
- The supply chains which have been curated and structured according to the country’s requirements and affordability have now been disrupted due to the absence of commutation. Not only has the trade been affected severely, but there are also many uncertainties as to how there can be regulations in order to help systems function. Daily wage workers and those working in the unorganized sector are at risk. A quarter of the country’s economy is functioning which amounts to $2.8 trillion.
- Plummeting stock prices of previously soaring companies and highly successful MNCs are an indication of the financial loss faced by those companies. Many of these companies put together contribute to over 90% of the GDP growth rate, which means that their loss affects the country as a whole.
- New startups are struggling to secure funds in these unprecedented times. There is also a halt in many of the ongoing projects of those companies where work-from-home can not be implemented due to their work being strictly on ground. NGOs, trusts, and other SHGs have been facing a lot of troubles due to a lack of donations and a complete stoppage on fieldwork.
- MSMEs have been an integral part of the country and despite the fact that the government has announced various measures, the stringent guidelines for work permission do not allow businesses to reopen.
- The unemployment rate has increased by 19% and has reached a whopping 26% in the country.
- Automobile and e-commerce sectors have been affected severely because their sales and delivery depend on the allowance of movement respectively .
- According to a recent FICCI survey, 53% of businesses have reported an impact, and close to 1,40,000 people have lost their jobs.
Impact on the education sector-
- Schools, colleges, and universities are places of mass gatherings and must remain in lockdown for the longest time as compared to other private or public enterprises.
- A large number of the schools and colleges had their annual or semester-end examination during this period. Some have either managed to conduct exams online and the rest have simply canceled. They could not postpone due to the lack of certainty.
- Next academic year schedules have gravely been affected due to the pandemic.
- Not many schools or colleges employ smart learning or technology-driven courses, which would lead to a total restructuring of their methodologies.
- Many of the competitive exams are yet to be held and have been on hold since the lockdown. Some exams like CAT which were conducted in 2019 have put their admission processes on hold, which has delayed the aspirants applying to institutions.
Impact on the normal lifestyle-
- Even though a relaxed weekend at home is something we crave for after hectic schedules all week long, staying at home for over a month has been a herculean task for us.
- Due to a complete stop on an intercity or interstate commute, the domestic help that we had is no longer available, leaving the burden on the family members. This has also led to people learning and doing things they had never imagined earlier.
- The streets are clean and the air with much less pollution content, cleansing our surroundings and giving us a sign that the lifestyle we led earlier was rupturing our natural habitat.
- Restaurants, cafes, and other food places closing has led to healthier food intake, and quarantine has resulted in more and more people indulging in exercising.
- Spending time with the family has enhanced our relations within the family. The time on our hands has also helped us introspect.
- Lectures, work, online classes, distance learning, and many other things have been digitized as that is the only option available currently. The usage of technology has gone through a new wave where it is the only thing that has helped us connect with different people on various platforms.
- Playing online games and catching up with old friends is no longer a luxury, but a part of our lifestyle.
If we look at the impact of the lockdown on various industries and compare it with the impact of it on a more micro level that is the impact on our lives, we can clearly find a more optimistic outcome on the lifestyle as opposed to the economy. What this tells us is that even though it is important for the country’s economy to stabilize and eventually prosper, we must keep in mind that this is a worldwide situation and would only become better with increased cooperation and awareness.
We must also realize that we are more than capable of fighting it with concentrated efforts from the government and acknowledgment from the people. The positive impact on our lifestyles is a proof of the fact that we are better without constantly indulging in a lot of things and activities which we found “essential” but was essentially a wretched, addictive luxury. It has evidently shown us our limitation to control a lot of things that we thought we could control. But, it has also shown us our capability to not succumb to something as huge as a pandemic and our resilience to make the most of a situation.