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Here Is How The World Will Change After The Pandemic Is Over

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This post is a part of YKA’s dedicated coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak and aims to present factual, reliable information. Read more.

The next catastrophe that will befall our world will be another pandemic, not a nuclear explosion.

We are poised at one of our world’s biggest inflection points. This is the first time in world history when a pandemic has paralysed the world’s businesses and economies. The inability to socialise has resulted in a lockdown on production and manufacturing facilities, leading to unprecedented losses to the global economy. An estimate of the expected loss in GDP growth has been calculated by the Economic Intelligence Unit.

The “After Pandemic” (AP) world will be very different from the “Before Pandemic” (BP) world. The change from BP to AP will be historic and as important in the timeline of our world as the traditional BC and AD have been historically.

In the AP world, de-globalisation will be a major thrust area with near-term shrinkage in global GDP. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has failed in its role as a healthcare monitor and needs to be restructured in order to be effective. Effectiveness will also mean accountability of nation-states for creating epidemics/pandemics. Nation-states will focus on healthcare for predicting and managing epidemics, pandemics and natural disasters at the cost of fiscal responsibility management. Companies will modify their business models to incorporate remote working, reducing costs, and manage volatility in capacity utilisation.

This will significantly affect the work lives and personal lives of their employees. People will discover new hobbies, become more responsible for their environment, and form special interest groups to drive solutions for emerging global concerns. Migrating workers will face restrictions. The overall trend will be towards building greater self-sufficiency by nation-states. Information authenticity and blazing bandwidth required for the coming online data explosion will be key to the progress in our AP world. Data storage within the country along with identity of data source will take precedence in our AP world.

De-Globalisation And Global Themes

De-globalisation has been taking place with the US government under Trump’s administration driving US companies to bring manufacturing back to the US from foreign countries by providing tax incentives. Balance of trade positions has assumed importance for the US, as bilateral trade negotiations progress hand in hand with tariff wars with China.

Through new, re-purposed and effective global multi-lateral bodies, nation-states will be held accountable for origination of epidemics and pandemics.

This is a radical departure from multi-lateral trade agreements supported by the WTO, weakening these global organisations built painstakingly over the past half-century. National trade interests will be protected by countries and tariff barriers will spring up. Nations-states will use their purchasing power to achieve political ends. These changes are likely to speed up further in many countries across the world.

The oil price war combined with the current lack of demand is putting the greatest pressure on oil-producing nations for storage of excess stocks. Storage facilities are running out. The largest supertankers in the world are being used as oil storage facilities whilst stationary and tied to their mooring buoys. Oil producers such as Saudi Arabia are struggling to balance their budgets, while the US shale oil business is shutting down due to unviable prices.

Through new, re-purposed and effective global multi-lateral bodies, nation-states will be held accountable for origination of epidemics and pandemics. There should be pressure brought upon China to explain how the coronavirus was caused, and its role in why the information was not conveyed to the rest of the world earlier.

The Role Of The World Health Organisation (WHO)

The WHO has proved that in its current form, it is woefully inadequate to meet today’s global healthcare needs. Not only was the news of COVID-19 highlighted late to the world and its classification as a pandemic delayed, the WHO missed communicating the vortex of the danger to human life to the rest of the world. The organisation, instead, lauded the efforts of China in containing the virus within the Hubei province. This very short-sighted and tactical view of the great danger that the coronavirus posed to the rest of our world makes the WHO worthless as a healthcare monitor.

It should be restructured, funded and staffed with the clear responsibility to track, and test emerging infectious diseases and viruses (amongst its other responsibilities) as they emerge in any part of the world in real-time, and to provide accurate and early warnings to the rest of the world. Its independence as a multi-lateral body needs to be ensured. The restructured WHO and other global multi-lateral bodies should hold nation states accountable for the origination of epidemics and pandemics.

The Role Of World Bank And Other Multi-Lateral Global Financial Organisations

After studying the economic impact of the current pandemic, the World Bank and other multilateral financial organisations should enact regulations to re-build the economies of nations through the banking sector in addition to other measures. Such actions should include enhancing capital adequacy ratios of banks and additional steps to bolster the economy back to health.

Borders And Immigration

Countries will realise the need to close their national borders (whether via air/sea/land) during times of a pandemic/epidemic. Nation-states will augment staff and processes for executing the border closure seamlessly. Borders will also be equipped with processes to permit the movement of essential commodities and services.

Travel

As crowding increasing the chances of infections to spread, shared travel modes will be less preferred. The sales of cars to the affluent will rise. Other than travel for leisure, people will travel for personal purposes sparingly, and travel will be need-based.

As crowding increasing the chances of infections to spread, shared travel modes will be less preferred. The sales of cars to the affluent will rise.

Nation-states can ask travelers for stringent epidemic/infection-free medical certificates at immigration control points or prior to approving visa applications. They may also conduct tests before permitting entry. Airline companies will have to recalibrate their business models in the AP world taking into account global and local pandemics. This could mean unpredictable lumpy consumer demand with breaks in service in between. Airlines will need to reduce their fixed costs further and new models of leasing aircraft will be incorporated to reduce costs. Cooperation with aircraft manufacturers will deepen.

Supply Chains

Supply chains will undergo changes with an emphasis on moving away partially or wholly from China. Companies will build alternative supply chains particularly if their vendors are in a foreign country. Redundancies in supply chain will become a common feature. Nations will lay priority on adding to their own research and manufacturing capacities for essential items like medicines, food and specialised clothing.

Media, Hospitality And Entertainment

Digital newspapers are now to stay. The early morning newspaper delivery service will become a thing of the past. People will be self-sufficient for information and news on their mobile phones/notepads/laptops.

Hotels will see occupancy rates fall even in normal circumstances as travel stabilises permanently at lower levels than before the pandemic. Conferences, events and seminars will decline in numbers, which will further reduce the revenue of the hotel industry. Hotel chain consolidation and re-purposing of hotel chains for other purposes such as hospitals, student hostels, or academic institutions will take place.

Restaurants will become adept at online ordering and dispatch of orders to customers. Traditional in-situ dining will continue during times when there is no epidemic. In order to control costs during lean periods, restaurants will adopt shared kitchens and shared delivery arrangements.

During times of epidemics/pandemics, multiplex theatres and malls/theme parks will not find takers. In these times, virtual entertainment and online games and virtual social meeting apps will be preferred by people. Multiplex theatres and malls will also undergo consolidation and re-purposing.

How National Governments Will Respond To A Pandemic/Epidemic In The Future

Economy

Government’s priorities have over-ridden restrictions such as Fiscal Responsibility Management and other ratios such as debt/GDP, fiscal deficit, market cap/GDP, etc. in a global effort to save lives. The focus is on providing money to the poor for food and wage security. The second main area of focus for governments is the stimulus package for economic revival. Governments will provide for a “Pandemic Provision”, which will be a line item of expense earmarked in the Annual Budget. One of the best ways for governments to kick start the economy will be a massive public investment in infrastructure with projects such as the creation of 100 Smart cities as announced by the Modi-led government in India.

a queue outside bank of bardoda branch in Darjeeling
Banks will enhance capital adequacy ratios to cater to the loan moratoriums granted by central banks and set aside provisions for non-performing assets. Representative image

Banks

In order to recover from the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, central banks (Reserve Bank of India) will implement interest rate cuts, loan moratoriums for fixed periods, other liquidity boosting measures including cutting CRR, increasing the MSF and utilising the LTRO and LAF windows.

Banks will enhance capital adequacy ratios to cater to the loan moratoriums granted by central banks and set aside provisions for non-performing assets such as loan repayment defaults by enterprises which are an economic impact of the pandemic. They will abide by global banking regulations, which will be enacted by the World Bank and other Multi-lateral Financial organisations as an outcome of learnings from the pandemic experience.

Healthcare And Disaster Management

The trends will be set towards achieving greater self-sufficiency by nation-states for the most critical needs and to reduce dependencies on other nations. This is a movement towards the old socialistic order.

Healthcare innovations for predicting and managing epidemics and pandemics will be a top priority for governments. The project led teams managed by nodal agencies such as Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the Health Ministry will be set up to meet the need to be able to reach out to India’s 640 districts and 649,481 villages for healthcare monitoring and management. A chain of public and private specialised medical testing laboratories will be established. Critical APIs, which constitute the active ingredients of medicines, will be manufactured within the country.

Telemedicine is growing at an extremely rapid pace. This business trend is here to stay. The way we access healthcare is undergoing a sea change. Telemedicine providers are hiring doctors and other healthcare personnel at a hectic pace to meet the newfound, galloping demand.

Governments will fine-tune lockdown processes for better supply chain and essential commodities production efficiencies while meeting the core goal of social distancing. The focus will be on how to limit the damage to the economy and business during the period of lockdown. Passes for essential services workers will be issued by government authorities. Police forces will be educated not to use their truncheons/lathis while dealing with people on the road during a period of lockdown.

Border lockdowns to stop or restrict movements across land/sea/air borders will be implemented. This will lead to political tensions in a global environment already fraught with fear and stretched resources.

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) will be strengthened by learnings from the coronavirus pandemic. The Armed Forces will have representation in the NDMA apex body. This will provide defense expertise and permit coordination of operations with the Armed Forces in real-time.

Information Technology

Information technology systems will be upgraded for coordinating, executing and monitoring disaster management operations in real-time. Governments will ensure “information authenticity” and the availability of much larger bandwidths using 5G technologies based on which the online information explosion can propagate faithfully. Data will be stored within the country and the source of every data element will be identifiable.

Companies will modify their staffing model to reduce their fixed costs by hiring more contractors, who can then be ramped up and down based on requirements from time to time.

How People Will Respond To A Pandemic/Epidemic In The Future

Work-Life

Companies will encourage remote working as a norm wherever possible to reduce their costs. They will modify their staffing model to reduce their fixed costs by hiring more contractors, who can then be ramped up and down based on requirements from time to time. There will be a pay differential, with employees working out of the office being paid more than those working from home. Video conferencing will also become the preferred option, rather than travel, for all but critical meetings where face to face discussions are a must.

Business models will change substantially to support greater volatility in capacity utilisation. Staffing and asset acquisition models will also change to support leasing, shared ownership and reduced costs for the customer. Companies will transform to support more granular organization structures which will provide greater flexibility in terms of cost and operating models. The changing environmental and social realities in the future will challenge companies to re-invent themselves and innovate to deliver the desired high-quality outputs.

Training will move entirely online. Training quality will improve dramatically with new investments in technology and content.

Personal Life

People will develop new hobbies. They will appreciate the value of friendships more. People will interact with each other by discovering new and different ways, which will compensate for the lack of physical proximity and being in the same location. Apps like Zoom, which enable remote meetings, are already being increasingly used for “virtual meetings’” during the lockdown. People will tend to build even stronger relationships.

People will realise that we share the planet with other species. People driven “special interest group” movements will spring up. These movements will moderate unilateral decisions and actions of organisations and nations, which will affect the environment and the world we live in. Families will become more self-sufficient depending less on outside help to run their own households.

Falling interest rates and frequent crunches on liquidity, which has become the harbinger of our times, are to stay. Home mortgage rates will fall due to the lowering of interest rates and lack of liquidity. Homeowners will clamber to re-negotiate their mortgage rates.

Social media has already become the core information-sharing medium among people in our society. Nation-states will regulate social media for obtaining access to data and its source. In-country storage of data will become the norm. Laws will be enacted for identifying people generating ‘fake news’ and criminal punishment will be instituted.

In order to prevent mass uprisings of people, methods to prevent mass dissemination of information via social media will be implemented. Governments will establish methods to ascertain “information authenticity” and the availability of much larger bandwidths using 5G technologies based on which the online information explosion can propagate faithfully.

Migrant workers at the Anand Vihar Bus Terminal. Photo: Anuj Srivas

Constitution Of Workforces

India is not a small country like Germany, France or Spain. India represents the complexities of a continent in terms of a number of people and diversities of all types. In India, there are 13.4 million migrant workers. People are free to migrate to any part of the country to earn their livelihoods. However, post the lockdown imposed on 25th March 2020, these migrant workers have been deprived of their work and daily wages. So, they rightly feel threatened and wish to travel back to their hometowns, wherein lies their natural area of comfort. This constitutes normal human behavior. This migration, being a second-order effect, was not easy to predict. The Government and employers have been caught unaware.

It is conceivable that employers will henceforth prefer to employ local workers at the lowest end of the working chain in order to avoid the perils of worker panic led to reverse migration. Governments will insist on the employer providing assurance of work and wages to the migrant workforce during times of a disaster affecting the migrant workforce. Visa/work permit restrictions on low-tech migrant workers will become a reality.

Conclusion

As global threat perceptions have changed, our lives AP are going to change substantially. Whether you are a government or private sector employee, or a retired person, the changes will affect each and every one of us. We need to be aware of the forthcoming changes and be prepared in advance if we are not to be caught by surprise. Just as this is true for individuals, nation-states and governments too are affected, and this is the time for them to start preparing to incorporate those changes for the benefit of its citizens. We need to be well-prepared for the next catastrophe that can befall our world, which is the next pandemic, not a nuclear explosion.

About the Author: Rajagopal Tampi is MD of VALUEMOVES Computing Private Limited. Views expressed are personal. Please leave your comments on the author’s blog at www.planetnation.org or you may email the author at Rajagopal.tampi@gmail.com.

Note: Originally published here

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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