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COVID-19: A Recovery Path For Industries From The Pandemic

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It’s been more than 135 days since PM Modi declared the nation-wide lockdown and needless to say we are sinking deep in the black hole of coronavirus. Hunt for vaccines is still on, the manufacturing sector is bleeding, the economic outlook is dooming, and obviously, society is not stable. We have probably read a plethora of articles and blogs on the possible impact of this pandemic and how the situation can change in the future.

The key takeaway from all such secondary and primary research works is the same — it would take 1 to 2 years to restore and revive the economic wheel. The obvious question arises; how is this pandemic or the “new normal” supposed to change the industrial ecosystem in our country?

Construction, infrastructure development and allied sectors are already bleeding as there is a shortage of labour and lack of demand from the market.

Courtesy COVID-19, we have already witnessed a lot of disruptions — SME level manufacturing of PPE kits, everyone trying to manufacture hand-sanitisers, Hyundai collaborating with Air Liquide to manufacture ventilators, cost leadership in manufacturing healthcare equipment and accessories, the emergence of remote working or hybrid working concepts (no one expected this in March 2020), and the list goes on.

Traditional sectors that typically showcase the same trend as that of the country’s GDP are expected to bleed and may expect a recovery in the next financial year. Construction, infrastructure development and allied sectors (like cement, steel) are already bleeding as there is a shortage of labour and lack of demand from the market. Worth mentioning is the severe impact on the real estate segment (both rental and sell). Both individual and institutional buyers are going slow and managing cash judiciously for future exigencies.

All these would result in a lack of demand, cost and time overrun. For large and capital intensive construction projects, we need to appreciate that offering loan moratoriums might not be the best decision as, during the moratorium period, interest calculation is still on, which would create stress on the cash flow. Construction in India is interlinked with various allied sectors (like mechanical and electrical equipment, cement, steel). All these sectors would also go slow for quite some time.

Conventional manufacturing sectors (such as plastic, rubber, chemicals, paper, etc.) are purely market (domestic and export) driven and are expected to restore by the end of the current financial year. We should watch out for the possible ushering of automation, digitisation and (possible) implementation of Industry 4.0 concept. We should expect many illustrations of horizontal and vertical diversification and examples of forward and backward linkages soon.

India is a diversified economy and the taste and outlook vary from North to South. Marketing campaigns and products which are popular in Western India have failed in Eastern India. In such a vast country, consumer-driven sectors (such as food and beverages, FMCG, lifestyle and apparels including ready-made garments, automobile) might generate a mixed reaction.

The food and beverage segment is expected to revive soon as it is directly related to essential consumption. Numbers show that positive growth has happened in the other consumer-oriented sectors in June and July and this momentum is expected to go on. By the end of this calendar year, these sectors should get restored. Urban India would recover first, but semi-urban segment would take some time.

Sunrise and R&D oriented sectors (like IT and ITES, Pharmaceuticals, Biotechnology, Telecom and Electronics) might raise an interesting observation. Pharmaceuticals and biotechnology sectors have been doing extremely well and demand will increase in the future. Owing to the recent Sino-India cold war, we would witness more inclusive growth and proliferation of homemade brands in the electronics sector.

The future is bright and there is a huge market to tap. The present and future belongs to IT and ITES, as the lockdown customers prefer convenience in lifestyle and livelihood. This has resulted in the popularity of Fintech, Agro-tech, Digital education, Telemedicine, home delivery and e-commerce segments. We should expect more innovation in recent times.

Telecom is acting as a backbone for all the other sectors and doing well. As we all know, aviation and hospitality/entertainment sectors are physically oriented (and not virtual, will keep on suffering). Since the last 4 months, the dip has already created a hole and recovery is not expected before the end of the next calendar year.

India would need more policy reforms and more innovative initiatives from the unicorns and our large conglomerates. Atmanirbhar Bharat is our dream, but we need more collaborative approaches from Government and private sectors (which is aptly supported by our BFSI and regulatory aspects) to restore normalcy. The focus should be more on digital initiatives and on taking all protective measures to revive the manufacturing sector at the earliest. This, in turn, would reinstate the service sector.

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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.

Read more about his campaign.

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.

Read more about her campaign. 

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.

Find out more about the campaign here.

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.

Read more about the campaign here.

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.

Read more about the campaign here.

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, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’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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