In a note addressed to young professionals and published on LinkedIn, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the rapidly changing world forcing people to work from home will necessitate the need to adapt and find newer ways and business models during the time of crisis.
He said the next big idea from India should find global relevance and drive a positive change for humanity.
“It has been a topsy-turvy start to the third decade of this century. COVID-19 has brought with it many disruptions. Coronavirus has significantly changed the contours of professional life. These days, home is the new office. The Internet is the new meeting room. For the time being, office breaks with colleagues are history,” Modi wrote on the professional employment site LinkedIn.
The choice of platform is key to his message as he wanted to specifically talk to the professionals, especially the younger ones, who have been confined to their homes for the past one month and struggling to adapt to the changes. Interestingly, Modi's message has come on the eve on government promising to give certain relaxations starting April 20. Though many rural industries are set to open, the urban areas may still continue to reel under lockdown as the battle to tackle COVID-19 appears to a rather long one.
PM said he too has been going through the same process, as he conducts meetings with his cabinet colleagues, officials and other stakeholders through video conference.
Asking youth to adapt to “new business and work culture,” he gave his message using the vowels: a, e, i, o, u.
"I envision this new business and work culture being redefined on the following vowels. I call them 'vowels of the new normal' because like vowels in the English language, these would become essential ingredients of any business model in the post-COVID world," Modi wrote.
Explaining what each letter stood for and the meaning behind it, PM said the first one was adaptability, where people and businesses quickly adapt to change during crisis. He listed digital payments and telemedicine. “Again, this is a positive sign. Can we think of business models to help further telemedicine across the world?” Modi asked
In a message to the corporate world and businesses, Modi said 'efficiency,' should not be measured about time spent in the office. “Productivity and efficiency matter more than appearance of effort, but emphasis should be on completing a task in the specified time frame.”
For him, 'inclusivity' meant developing business models that attach primacy to care for the poor, the most vulnerable sections.
“COVID-19 has made us realise the need to work on health solutions at low cost and large scale. We can become a guiding light for global efforts to ensure the health and well being of humanity. We should invest in innovations to make sure our farmers have access to information, machinery, and markets no matter what the situation, that our citizens have access to essential goods,” he wrote.
Every crisis brings with it an 'opportunity'. COVID-19 is no different. India must be ahead of the curve in the post-COVID world. Let us think about how our people, our skills sets, our core capabilities can be used in doing so, he added.
For the last vowel, PM talked about Universalism as COVID-19 did not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, colour, caste, creed, language or border before striking.
“Our response and conduct thereafter should attach primacy to unity and brotherhood. Unlike previous moments in history, when countries or societies faced off against each other, today we are together facing a common challenge. The future will be about togetherness and resilience.”
PM said India should try to become global nerve centre of complex modern multinational supply chains in the post-COVID-19 world. “Logistics was previously only seen through the prism of physical infrastructure—roads, warehouses, ports. But logistical experts these days can control global supply chains through the comfort of their own homes. Let us rise to that occasion and seize this opportunity.”
Lastly, he advised everyone to devote time to physical fitness. “The shift from BYOD to WFH brings new challenges to balance the official and personal."