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A virtual reboot

Photo: Mint
Photo: Mint

Computer makers could perhaps expect their sales growth to be sustained by the permanence of covid-caused digital adoption, be it by companies or schools and colleges

A crisis can create demand. If demonetization breathed life into e-payments and covid boosted pharmaceutical companies, India’s lockdown has given its market for personal computers a reboot. Domestic shipments of PCs, according to IDC India, hit 3.4 million in July-September, the strongest quarter in seven years, because of work-from-home requirements and online classes.

While our lockdown may have been lifted, covid infections are still spreading, which should keep employees and students at home until it’s clear that risk levels have dropped. This may take many months even after a vaccine is available. Computer makers could perhaps expect their sales growth to be sustained by the permanence of covid-caused digital adoption, be it by companies or schools and colleges. Many of the virtual tools currently in use are unlikely to be given up. Such a dramatic shift online, however, will disadvantage the multitudes who can’t afford personal gadgets. India’s digital divide was always wide. The trends in evidence now could exacerbate inequalities, unless policymakers intervene. Let’s put universal digital enablement under a feasibility study

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