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What Indian Tech Leaders Are Saying About COVID-19 Pandemic

What Indian Tech Leaders Are Saying About COVID-19 Pandemic

Tech leaders on COVID-19

India has been going through a difficult time. COVID-19 has proven to be a bigger problem than what anyone could have anticipated. The pandemic has been spreading at an alarming rate and has impacted everything – from people’s daily lives, to operations in various industries. The outbreak has affected the tech industry as well, with growth having been revised down by 3-8% for the next financial year.

Employees of most IT companies have been directed to work from home. Furthermore, many of these organizations have taken various initiatives to extend their support to employees who have been struck by this pandemic.

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Here are some of these initiatives led by business leaders as they get together to combat this disease collectively:

Vijay Shekar Sharma, Founder of Paytm

Vijay Shekar Sharma has pledged Rs 50 million for any medical innovation related to COVID-19. His company has also launched an ‘India Fights Corona’ campaign in partnership with consumer goods company Hindustan Unilever’s Lifebuoy and Yuvraj Singh’s YouWeCan Foundation. Paytm also plans to distribute one million soaps to those affected.

Paytm users can contribute to the ‘Donation’ section in the app, or on the website.

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Innovators, research teams and doctors can also reach the company for support at [email protected].

Sridhar Vembu, Founder of Zoho

Sridhar Vembu recently announced a Small Business Emergency Subscription Assistance Program. The plan is to waive three months’ fee for software that small businesses have already been using. This move will benefit 20,000 of its existing customers who have 25 or fewer employees.

These small businesses will get a Zoho Wallet credit, which will be equivalent to three months of their bill, and the business owners can choose to use the wallet credits as they deem fit.

In addition to these efforts, Zoho is providing free access to its Zoho Remotely suite of web and mobile apps to offer remote working options for all businesses until July 1, 2020. This includes a set of 11 apps which provide services like document management and video conferencing, among others.

“You will see the impact on guidance and revenue growth (by Indian IT companies) for next year. Next year, growth is going to be very challenging for the Indian IT services industry.”

Ex-CFO, Infosys Ltd V Balakrishnan in an interview.

Byju Raveendran, Founder of Byju’s

The popular edtech firm’s flagship app – Byju’s – will have free access for users, and the offer stands until the end of April. It will offer math and science lessons suitable for children from grades 2-4, along with Disney Byju’s Early Learn app that offers math and English lessons for students from grades 1-3. This app could help thousands of students who have been stuck at home without the guidance of teachers.

Manoj Bubna, Gautam Gurtoo & Biren Shah (Nitrogen founders)

Nitrogen is a Mumbai-based SaaS company that announced free use of its digital platform for three months for hospitals, grocery outlets and pharmacies. The founders believe that the three industries – healthcare, consumer products and pharma – could face a lot of traffic during the 21-day lockdown. It can help websites handle peak traffic and strengthen their security.

“The IT sector may see some indirect impact in the medium to long term as some of the clients have exposure to manufacturing in China.”

Pravin Rao, NASSCOM vice-chairman, as well as COO of Infosys in an interview.

Mukesh Ambani, MD of Reliance Industries

Although not necessarily considered a tech leader, Ambani has announced a multi-pronged plan that involves prevention, mitigation and ongoing support related activities to stem the spread of COVID-19. His foundation has set up India’s first dedicated COVID-19 centre with 100 beds and a fully equipped isolation facility in Lodhivali, Maharashtra. As far as tech is concerned, the company’s telecom arm has increased its data limits for its existing broadband users and waived charges for new ones. 

With Jio Haptik Technologies, the company’s digital unit has also built a chatbot for free. This chatbot is built for Government functionaries and is called MyGov Corona Helpdesk. The bot is created to answer questions around the pandemic and provide accurate information to curb false news.

Outlook

As India battles COVID-19, there has been an extended lockdown for the entire country. This pandemic has disrupted all industries. Moreover, many analysts say that these companies might not be able to recover from the impact for many months to come.

The pandemic has put the IT sector’s ability to deliver services on-site to test, and that is why the majority of them have been moving towards working remotely. Many believe that this will cause a recession that could be worse than 2008 one if the pandemic is not brought under control fast.

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