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Reaction to the Government’s Easing of Restrictions

The Government of India has decided to extend the lockdown till 3rd May 2020, in a measure aimed at controlling the rapid increase in the number of COVID-19 cases.

It has also issued guidelines to allow IT and ITeS companies to function smoothly in order to provide some relief to these firms and help the Indian economy to pick up pace once again.

In such a situation, we have commentary from IT industry leaders on the impact that the easing of restrictions will have and the additional steps the government would need to take to boost the economy during this time of crisis.

I agree with most of the speakers that Bankruptcy Code should be active to give respite to the startups and govt. should focus on the MSME and SMEs also enterprises should seriously look at moving their applications to the cloud.

Bhavin Turakhia, Founder & CEO, Flock and CEO & Co-founder, Zeta said, “Today, India’s startup sector is experiencing tough times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is seen disrupting the progress and future potential of this highly promising sector. With startups working on a limited cashflow, we believe the government should support them in these testing times. One measure that the government stated it was considering was the suspension of Section 7, 9 and 10 of the IBC [Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code] for a period of six months if the lockdown extends beyond 30th April. If implemented, this will surely bring some relief to many young startups and help them sustain their business. Other measures which should be considered include the easing of compliance and filing guidelines for startups by eradicating the current penal provisions, while offering financial tools to help them overcome this eventuality. With COVID-19 cases increasing by the day, and reports coming in that the government might extend the lockdown by a couple of weeks, this is likely to further impact the economy with Indian entrepreneurs bearing the brunt of this uncertainty. We are confident that the government will take all of this into account and consider taking further steps to ensure the startup ecosystem is able to tide over this crisis.”

According to Parag Naik, Co-Founder and CEO, Saankhya Labs, “The very first priority should be to ramp up investments in the telecom and electronic equipment industry. We should not just look at investments from MNCs, however the government should focus on making policies that encourage local SMEs and MSMEs to ramp up investments. This can be done by incentivizing these companies to build a local ecosystem. Instead of spending money on loss making PSUs, the government can divert those funds towards supporting next-gen Indian companies which have the capability to take on the world. While ‘Make in India’ is a good initiative, it should be ramped up to focus more on the electronics industry. The government should offer more sops to Indian manufacturers to set up and scale up facilities. Apart from the setting up of factories and manufacturing units, the need of the hour is to invest in innovation. Countries like China and US dominate the market because they have a large bank of IPs. If India has to compete on the global scale, we have to ramp up domestic innovation. We have a great demographic dividend and we can certainly use it to innovate and build an IPR regime.”

Neelesh Kripalani, Senior Vice President and Head, Center of Excellence (CoE) at Clover Infotech

The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has affected almost every country in the world and India is no exception. To control the spread, the Indian government has imposed a mandatory countrywide lockdown. It will definitely impact businesses. As per the Investment Information and Credit Rating Agency (ICRA), the Indian economy is likely to witness a sharp contraction of 4.5 percent (de-growth) during Q4 FY20 and is expected to recover gradually, to post a GDP growth of just 2 percent in FY21.

This lockdown has brought in the fundamental shift in the mindset of companies with placing more focus on digitally transforming the workplace and building ‘Virtual Workplace’ culture. Due to the social distancing and lockdown being witnessed in almost all countries of the world, the demand for moving business-critical workload to the cloud is on the rise. Workloads on the cloud can be easily accessed and managed across the organization. This gives employees the flexibility to work from anywhere, anytime.

This is an apt time for businesses to move their application and the underlying infrastructure to the cloud and reap the benefits of increased speed, efficiency and agility. This gives businesses the assurance that their core application and operations are functioning seamlessly. It also increases the cohesiveness among various functions within organizations. I believe it is a great step by the government to extend the lockdown to control the Coronavirus (COVID-19). I am sure the government, the health professionals and administration are doing a great job to contain the spread and we must adhere to the government’s mandate in terms of extension if any.

Shibu Paul, Vice President – International Sales at Array Networks

“The lockdown has been extended till May 3, 2020, and it is very much the need of the hour. Although India has been doing good in controlling the spread of COVID-19 compared to many other countries across the world, this extension is needed to bring the pandemic fully in control with a holistic and integrated approach. While we say that, the strategy to boost up the economy has to be made stronger. If there could be ease given to manufacturing industries to operate with 25% working capacity and strict social distancing, it would help. Companies are similarly planning for distancing norms in warehouses and offices. At corporates, wherever hardware requirements and servicing of the products/ appliance is concerned the support team should be given permissions to address the same with safety measures taken into consideration. This will help in continuity and productivity. We need interim measures to ensure the survival of businesses that have been hit the most by coronavirus like micro, small and medium enterprises.”

Gurpreet Singh, Managing Director at Arrow PC Network Pvt Ltd

“Government of India has taken the right decision to extend the lockdown till May 3, 2020. We are looking forward to see the situation be far more in control than what it is now. There are many industries that could work from home and still manage the continuity of work, but the manufacturing industry which accounts and contributes quite hugely in boosting the economy should be given an ease, for at least 30% capacity, during this lockdown. The logistics companies should also be allowed to function which will help in delivering the raw materials on time. This will allow the micro, small and medium enterprises to cope during the lockdown period. Going forward, the industry would need systems that enable remote monitoring of processes and machines. Remote work will play a significant role in business continuity planning. I firmly believe that once we are back to normal, India as a country and an IT industry will be the first to recover.”

Ravi Raj U, Brand Head – Director Sales & Support at NetRack

“Opening industries will be a good decision as the footprint of people on landmass is very low compared to IT companies. Generally, completely automated plants like ours will have only 150 people in an area of 150,000 SQT and ramping up the production will take around 15 days. In the meantime, we hope other allied services, like transport, remain active. Generally, Green Field Projects of 200,000 SFT will have manpower of around 2000 people. With proper people management with, proper masks, social distancing, personal hygiene and public hygiene measures the pandemic can be effectively managed without hampering business continuity.”

Sunayana Hazarika, Marketing Manager at ATEN

“The government has extended the world’s biggest lockdown till 3rd May 2020 and ATEN supports the step taken by the Indian government for the health and safety of the citizens. We encourage our colleagues, business partners, and customers to practice social distancing and safety norms in place and help in containing the spread. Businesses across the world are redefining their operations to adapt to this change and IT and ITES are no different. Business Continuity and disaster management are activated and rethinking of core business and operation models are taking place across the industry to cope with this disruption”.

Prashanth G J, CEO at TechnoBind

“The extension of the lockdown while it looks like a necessary step from the ‘flattening of the curve’ perspective, the government’s thought of giving some ease in some areas is a hugely welcome step. With the initial 3-week lockdown being a success especially here in Bangalore where the containment has been very good, the government should consider partial opening up of some segments of the business. IT and as well non-IT both need to be opened up in a controlled manner so as to minimize the economic damage that is being seen right now – for the potential damage on the economic front even in short term can be more concerning”.

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