The ongoing pandemic has made it really difficult for people to step out of their houses. The amount of protection and precaution that are needed to be taken is huge. In most of the cases, it has been observed that the economic, geographical, and other factors make it really difficult for the common people to take all the necessary precautions before going out. With the pressure of the massive population, if all the lives came to a sudden standstill, it would have been extremely difficult for wage-earners and people belonging to the poverty-stricken families to earn their daily livelihood.
Keeping everything in mind, the world has come together and decided to keep afloat most of the transactions and businesses functioning via electronic modes in order to maintain a constant pace amidst this chaotic situation. From our occupational, educational, political to our social life, everything has now become dependent on electronic mediums.
Technology has indeed shaped our lives in a unique manner post-pandemic. Business sectors that may not have been much profitable earlier, are seeing new directions, and sectors which were visited profusely by innumerable customers are now witnessing whopping losses.
How Fatal is the OnGoing Economic Crunch
Several economic reports and data have been framed providing for the losses which the business sectors have suffered. The Global Economic Prospects as of June 2020 describes the immediate effect as well as the near term outlook of the post-pandemic period along with the long-term damage which the economy of all the countries throughout the entire world may have to deal with. A 5.2% contraction in global GDP has already been recorded.
Experts opine that the economy is facing the deepest global recession in decades. Economists have compared the current recession with the Great Recession where it took around eight years for recovering the unemployment rate which had been affected the most. Initially, it was thought that the surge in the unemployment rate as recorded in March and April which will have a temporary effect but with businesses shutting down throughout the entire world it was found out that the crisis was not to end any soon.
In the United States, around 3.7 million people have presumably lost their permanent jobs. This is presumed to hit 6.2 million during the latter part of 2020. The Oxford Information Technology records a database of about 32 million businesses that includes non-profit business, government businesses along with farms. It has provided that around 4 million US businesses are expected to close this year. The figure recorded is even more than that recorded during the Great Recession. The major problem that is being faced by the economy is that in the Great Recession as well as the Great Depression the statistics of the economic crunch were partially foreseeable.
The pandemic has been unforeseeable to the extent that most of the business owners who did not have even the slightest idea that their businesses may be shut. They are facing tremendous pressure. US Census Bureau survey showed that only 38% of the business owners were supposed to shut their sectors temporarily. But this data reached 55% and most of the business owners do not have even the least idea as to when their sectors will regain their original status. Several policies are being introduced and governmental aid via financial stimulus is being supplied to business sectors in order to boost these units.
Financial Situation in India
John Hopkins University provided that India has become the tenth worst affected country in the world during the pandemic situation. With respect to the economic losses which India has suffered the losses are different in red zones when compared to the green zones. The International Labour Organisation and the Asian Development Bank along with the World Bank have collected data with respect to the employment scenario and the economic crunch that India is facing.
As many as 40,000 crore youths in the country lost jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic while the construction and farm sector workers have also accounted for considerable job losses. The report which has been prepared by these institutions provides that if alternative options are not undertaken and if boosters are not provided for the e-commerce sectors then as many as 660 million young people from various regions can lose their jobs.
The Ministry of Statistics provided that India’s growth in the fourth quarter of the fiscal year of 2020 went down to 3.1 %. The main reason that has caused the reduction of GDP in the pandemic is the closure of numerous business sectors.
CRYSIL announced that the records which have so far been tracked provide that this will be India’s worst recession since independence. The State Bank of India also conducted research which provided that there has been a contraction of 40% GDP in the second and third quarters of the financial year. The unemployment rose to 26% during mid-June and as many as 14 crore people have already lost employment while salaries were cut down for several others.
More than 45% of the households across the nation have witnessed a drop in their monthly earning. Around 53% of business sectors in India have been greatly affected. The Reserve Bank of India has announced numerous measures which also included making available 374000 crores as a booster to boost the country’s financial system.
How Technology Has helped in Boosting E-Commerce
One of the most significant introduction and application of technology has been made in the form of Drones. Drones have played an indispensable role in everyday life. Its functions are multifarious and that is what makes it unique in nature. In fact, drones being under the category of Artificial Intelligence have the capability of performing various jobs.
- Delivery Service: During the stressful situation of the pandemic, it has become impossible for the elder section of our society to go out on a daily basis and purchase food items. It is equally risky for them to come in contact with other persons. In order to solve this issue, the drones have been made functional in such a manner so that they can deliver food, medicine, and all other essential commodities to all sectors of society. Zipline in Ghana has invested in drone technology in order to enhance its emergency medical supply.
- Reporting: Journalism requires news reporters and cameramen to traverse to various places. In fact, the T.R.P of news channels matters a lot depending on how fas and how vast its news coverage is. But to travel to unknown places and especially virus-prone areas can prove extremely fatal for such journalists. For this reason, the drones are being dispersed to collect news efficiently.
- Virus Tracker: This is definitely a new inculcation in the field of technology. Dragonfly Inc and the University of South Australia have teamed up in producing special drones with sensors attached in order to detect the presence of any virus. Although it has not yet been brought in the market, experts have opined that these will help in tracking how widespread this virus is.
Since 20th-century digitalization and digital transformation of industries have played an extremely important role. Numerous enterprises starting from small enterprises to cottage industries to indigenous industries along with large corporations and government agencies and multinational businesses have been launched a digital platform in order to promote their respective businesses. This not only allows an array of customers and numerous transaction processes and activities but also helps in increasing the profit that is generated by all these companies and agencies.
- In Commerce: As a result of this technique, a particular business can reach more customers. Previously customers had to reach the doorsteps of a shop in order to purchase a particular product. The advertisements were made possible via hoardings and placards. Owing to digitalization, the owners can now promote their businesses online without having to step out of their houses. This has proved to be beneficial in more than one way. The most advantageous factor is that the digital modes of commerce and transaction help the members of a particular sector to get an insight of the statistics of their promotional activities, how many people the advertisements are reaching, and all the analyses bout the ways in which the business can be improved.
- In the Healthcare sector: Health is wealth. Healthcare sectors have always been important. The importance has become more significant post-pandemic. The increase in the number of patients has made the availability of beds in hospitals difficult. The digitalization technique of the health care sectors has proved to be important because in this way the number of beds and the price of a particular bed and other details of each hospital has become easier. However, the digitalization in the health care sector in India is not much practiced. It is hoped that in the coming days it will be practiced.
Technology in Public and Legal Sectors
We all know that the legal sectors in India and abroad are completely dependent on the numerous lawyers who are required to litigate before the court of law in person. Judges are also required to decide a case in person. Similarly in public sectors, the officials are mainly involved in public dealings. As a result, the concept of work from home is rather alien. But the pandemic situation has made things different. There have been numerous cases where the judicial and quasi-judicial matters have been decided via electronic platforms.
Imparting of Education
The pandemic has indeed resulted in dire consequences when it comes to the educational field. If education is not imparted to the future generation then it will lead to irrefutable losses. Hence no risks can be taken when it comes to imparting education to the current generation. For this reason, online modes have been introduced by various software where the teachers can easily teach their respective students. From online classes to webinars every category of technics has been undertaken to preserve the educational status of the students.
E-commerce has been greatly boosted during the pandemic. Several sectors had to launch various additional websites and alternative delivery systems in order to manage their numerous customers. In fact, e-groceries has recorded the highest profit during this pandemic situation. Although the textile market suffered a loss in the initial half, it is again regaining its pace via numerous inline platforms.
The invention of AI since the latter half of the 2oth century had already made headlines by their multifarious utilities. The need and advantage of AI post-pandemic have proved to be a boon in several sectors. AI in the field of science and technology has helped scientists and medical professionals in conducting advanced research. Their research work concerning coronavirus has now become expeditious in nature owing to databases like Pubmed, Scopus, and Google Scholar. The supercomputer, a new category of AI can conduct research activities on its own. This research not only covers the ambit of the structure of the virus but also includes the various types of chemicals that can successfully eradicate the presence of the virus.
Technology has proved to be a boon ever since its applications in society. But, just like every element in this world has its boons as well as banes technology too, if and when abused can prove to be disadvantageous. India has more than 50% of its population below the poverty line. Thus, a group of people who cannot afford proper nutrition can definitely not avail of network systems. The pandemic has affected these people the most. If the NGOs and governmental organizations come together then each and every sector of the country will be able to successfully use technology and make their efficient application.