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Tata Sons chairman N. Chandrasekaran. MINT
Tata Sons chairman N. Chandrasekaran. MINT

Pandemic will have a transformative effect: N Chandrasekaran

  • Covid-19 could be a catalyst towards digital revolution, ensuring access to health and education to all
  • 'Covid-19 is an event of extreme crisis but it also has a hidden opportunity', N Chandrasekaran said

Tata Sons Ltd chairman N. Chandrasekaran on Tuesday said the coronavirus pandemic has come with its own opportunities that could usher in a technology-driven transformation and catapult India into a world beyond “jugaad, tweaks and tricks".

“Covid-19 could be a catalyst towards digital revolution, ensuring access to health and education to all. Focus should be on building a sustainable future and a more resilient economy," Chandrasekaran said, delivering the 26th Lalit Doshi memorial lecture highlighting India’s opportunities in decade 2020.

“At a time of extreme crisis of both lives and economy, sustainable development will need to be at the core of anything India does from this point on," he said.

While the pandemic has led to the evolution of new ways of working for India Inc., forcing it to move away from traditional brick-and-mortar models to digital platforms, Chandrasekaran said technology will play a far more important role than before.

“But these won’t work till there is a digitization push," he said.

Jugaad, tweaks and tricks can only do so much, the biggest problems for India is lack of jobs and access to healthcare, which can be properly addressed only by faster adoption of technology."

Chandrasekaran has recently co-authored a book, Bridgital Nation: Solving Technology’s People Problem, where he predicts that India will be among the world’s top three economies by 2030 by leveraging technology.

India, he argued in his lecture, will be eventually pushed to overcome its myriad challenges through the use of digital technologies, with small and medium enterprises (SMEs)and renewable energy emerging as the frontrunners.

According to Chandrasekaran, unlocking the potential of small businesses can lead to 45 million workers moving to the formal sector. “We need a national digital platform which will aggregate all the SME businesses."

“Covid-19 is an event of extreme crisis but it also has a hidden opportunity" he said.

“Both advanced and developing economies are in recession. India imposed one of the biggest lockdowns observed in history, and this came at a time when we just were recovering from a protracted slowdown of 2018."

“Resilient economy depends on—Infrastructure, regulation and investment into right sectors," he added.

Making a case for India emerging as the next global leader in research and development, science and technology, artificial intelligence among other fields, he said “We have the right human capital, scale and technology, and this is time to make the right investments."

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