Viewpoint: 2020 - An Unforgettable Year

03 JAN,2021 | MEDC


 

2020 is a year none of us are likely to forget in a hurry. Covid was a true black swan event, one that disturbed the status quoto an unprecedented extent. In all fairness, Indian policymakers handled the mega-crisis caused by the pandemic exceedingly well. The lockdown was imposed early, and it followed certain norms, which helped to limit the damage. Obviously, the economy was extensively affected and many employees across diverse industries have still not been paid salaries for several months now. This state of affairs cannot continue indefinitely. Luckily India’s agricultural sector rose to the occasion, and helped to stave off the worst economic effects of Covid. The MSME sector was particularly badly hit, and reviving it will take some concerted policy action. Although the cases have slowed and deaths have flattened, India is not yet out of the woods. The need of the hour is strategic policy reforms, including a redrawing of the country’s entire fiscal roadmap, to accommodate such unexpected occurrences. 2020 revealed to us the importance of being able to work from home (WFH). Obviously, that arrangement is not possible for all employees and in all industries, but those who can do so should maximize that opportunity. WFH leads to less stress on public and office infrastructure, and often increases individual productivity by providing a better work-life balance. Many leading global organizations like Microsoft and Google have now drawn up long-term plans for facilitating WFH for several of their key employees. Some Indian companies are also following in their footsteps. 2020 was characterised by many technological transformations. Due to the necessity of social distancing, digitization proceeded at an unprecedented pace. Many industries, particularly in the banking and financial services sector, felt the need to tweak their business models to gain that much needed edge in a highly competitive world.2020 has also forced us to reconsider our relationship with technology and attempt to engage with it differently. Nowhere is this more visible than in the field of medicine, where the search for a reliable vaccine still remains elusive. A microscopic virus has taught us that messing with Mother Nature can bring the entire world to a grinding halt. It is to be hoped that 2020 has instilled a deep sense of humility in us regarding becoming aware of the limits of our scientific abilities. Looking ahead, we need to moderate our expectations for 2021. The situation continues to remain fragile, and our best bet probably remains the speedy development of aneffective vaccine. Millions around the world have experienced chronic unrelenting stress for almost the whole of 2020, but incremental improvements now seem to be visible on the horizon. In the midst of these unusual times, it is imperative for all of us to maintain a positive outlook. 

*Photo Credit: Google

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