The covid crisis has upended India Inc, but more than four-fifths of companies believe the pandemic has merely interrupted their business, not crushed it. In a report prepared by PwC, a consultancy, 82% of companies surveyed say they expect to recover within a year. The report also says that while 73% of these firms see a fall in revenues this fiscal year, only 15% expect the decline to last longer.
Such optimism is impressive, even if some respondents are just putting up a brave face. As of now, our corporate sector seems to be in cost-crushing mode, with layoffs, structural rejigs and division closures still the order of the day. In operational terms, the worst of the pandemic may now be behind us. Factories have been reopening and capacity utilization is seen to be on an incline. Yet, the ability to produce goods and services would mean little without a demand revival, signs of which remain weak.
Coronavirus appears to have lost neither its virulence nor its capacity to defy predictions. It seems to relish all seasons, no matter how hot or cold, and may be able to hang around in the air for hours on end, ready to strike.Unless a vaccine is found quickly, infections could continue unabated. Corona cases have crossed 1.5 million in the country, and daily infections have begun to bob above the 50,000 mark. Business as usual is thus nowhere on the horizon. Even if vaccinations begin by the end of 2020, it could take all of 2021 for everyone in the country to get a protective jab—and that too, only if plans for such a scheme are chalked out now.