How India Inc is countering coronavirus | Editor's note

Top India Inc honchos share their insights on what needs to be done

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, goes the saying. Those with not much adversity to overcome are not just guzzling lemonade, but lemon tarts, lemon cheesecake, lemon pudding and several other delightful desserts, while straddling work from home and work at home.

This pandemic is a bolt from the blue. Never in our living history have we seen real economies grind to a halt, across the world. Even the 2008 ‘global financial crisis’ owed its origin to predatory US subprime loans and the subsequent credit freeze due to defaults. We emerged out of that crisis, thanks to the massive injection of central bank liquidity, which then lifted all boats.

This time, it’s about the real economy, and the COVID-19 crisis is truly global. Once again, governments across the world have stepped up with stimulus to tackle the situation. While there is no wishing away the loss of life, income and business that stares us in the face, low interest rates and fiscal stimulus are being seen as a panacea. However, if the surfeit of liquidity can effectively fight the disruption caused — in the form of lower aggregate demand and restricted supply — is a question the world will find an answer to, in the course of time .

As for now, the stock market seems to be signaling that all will be well soon. It may be denial, the first stage of grief. For those not familiar with Swiss-American psychiatrist, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, the Kübler-Ross Change Curve plotted emotional well-being against time, following a sudden change. After the initial shock from say, the death of a dear one or job loss, a person goes through denial, anger, bargaining, depression before reaching some level of acceptance.

Since we are still enjoying our lemon tarts while ignoring the plight of daily wagers and migrant labour, we seem to be in the first stage of the pandemic. In this edition, we have insights from those who are still clear-sighted about the future and what needs to be done. Read about India Inc’s Corona Counterstrike here.