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Coronavirus epidemic prompts India Inc realign their businesses

BENGALURU: A month ago, one wouldn’t have envisioned Mahindras and Tatas manufacturing ventilators, Uber delivering groceries and United Spirits selling groceries. But it’s all possible now; with the coronavirus epidemic prompting India Inc realign their businesses. The crisis has also given rise to interesting tie-ups such as auto makers partnering with med-tech firms, tech majors handholding MSMEs, and FMCGs delivering essentials through online platforms.

While health and essential commodities, and online education are making a footprint in the new quarantined world, sectors such as hospitality, travel, non-essential retail and auto are seeking bailout packages to stay afloat.

Going with demand trends, ITC Foods has said it will deliver wheat and spices through Domino’s app, Zomato has expanded its portfolio to groceries, Paytm has brought hotels onboard to accommodate healthcare workers; and now, Covid insurance is being sold on tele-consulting platforms.

Global tech giants such as Microsoft, Cisco and IBM are aggressively marketing their solutions to individuals, enterprises and governments to not only fight the pandemic, but also to ensure zero disruption to their routine exercises.

“Now more than ever, as many of us work remotely, we are acutely aware of all the different ways life can interrupt work and work interrupt life. It’s never been more important to stay connected, and be on top of the things for that matter,” said Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice-president, Window and Devices Group at Microsoft.

Cisco has begun selling its advanced tech solutions to small businesses struggling to streamline supply chains amidst a strict lockdown. “Small businesses are the bedrock of India’s economy. In this dynamic macroeconomic environment, Cisco is committed to helping these businesses stay safe while ensuring business continuity by giving them access to top-notch, easy-to-use technology solutions,” said Panish PK, managing director, SMB, Cisco India and SAARC.

IBM is pushing its Artificial Intelligence-enabled Watson Assistant in India’s health industry in partnership with government and health agencies.

IT Industry body NASSCOM has brought together a host of bigwigs and start-ups to curate solutions for problems emerging from the pandemic situation. This taskforce includes firms such as Infosys, Wipro, Intel and various start-ups.

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