Opinions Corona – Threat and Opportunity July 31, 2020 Vishnu Sultania The world is witnessing the impact of Corona – COVID 19, at personal, social and financial level. We know many things about Corona and doing our best to curtail/contain it. The most powerful economies having propriety over research and development are struggling to find ways. The only way that we could find so far and considered to be most effective is to isolate the virus by isolating the people. Countries are being closed and cities are being deserted under govt directives. Flights are forced to run empty and airports are being supported by staff – the most vulnerable lots! We are all being advised to stay home, meet people only to handles unavoidable. Essentials like sanitisers and masks are in short supply – and possibly the food will also risk the shortage either by hoarding or disruption of supply chain. We are reacting, overreacting or may be acting in a clue less environment. We have started comparing with deaths due to accidents, cancers, heart failure, H1N1 and what not? It means this disease is as deadly as accident, cancers, H1N1 etc or may be more as no one knows how this will unwind itself. Eventually it will be contained – either by mother nature or human being. It will be stopped. Like Tsunami – we do not know the damage that it will cause to the global village – may be loss of life due to the disease and loss of life a continuous impact arising out of disease. Nevertheless, it will touch every one’s life and minimum will instil fear of death if nothing more. Cities and villages are worried and dealing with the issues on its own ways. Since the future has become so speculative – markets have started tumbling, metals like gold and silver are also melting. We do not know what will happen to the prices of real estate. Will it again accelerate job loss, reduce consumption. People will neither travel nor entertain – a chain reactions of slow down – job loss. Economy like India is struggling to boost its consumption and it will be a severe blow and people will save rather than spent. A chain reaction that will further reduce capacity building, investment and cycle will go on. I am focusing this more on service business that is the employment factory of people who are not employable otherwise. The security guards, facility management people the most vulnerable economically will either lose because there will be fewer place of employment or they will lose out they are being the most essential part of COVID – COMBAT. Cleaning, sanitation, health support staff are the most exposed people – they may not have the practice and preference to safeguards themselves. Most recently I was travelling in a train and I did notice that the man who was feeding 600 odd passengers was unprotected. Even if there is one passenger – he can play the role of carrier of virus? I am not blaming railways here that they should be given protective gloves or mask – what I am highlighting that they may not be even aware what they are expected to do – Is it not impactful? It is anyone’s guess about the revenue loss – will it be in billions of trillions of dollars, I am leaving this to RBI or the organisation like IMF? One thing that I know that its blow will be sever. Loss of contact means loss of business opportunities in the long run. By the time people will realise that the impact of COVID is over – it will be too late. My recommendation is that we need to continue our communications more effectively than previously. We are not supposed to travel so we should not travel. But we will have to be agile and nimble. Reduce/optimize cost. Provide value added services to clients even if not getting paid. Motivate people and help them wherever needed. Continue with KARMA and success will follow. We can work at least to minimise the impact. Wishing all the best to all our fellow human beings!