Protecting lives and livelihoods during coronavirus lockdown – 50 quotes from India’s battle against COVID-19

In this fresh compilation series, we present inspiring quotes from the week of May 4 - 10 that frame India’s pandemic challenge, and preparations for easing of the lockdown.
1.3k CLAPS

Launched in 2014, StoryBites is a weekly feature from YourStory, featuring notable quotable quotes in our articles of this past week. This special series of compilations focusses on India’s COVID-19 struggle (see last week’s post here). Share these quotes and excerpts with your networks, and check back to the original articles for more insights.

Developments of the past month are showing that a combination of top-down and bottom-up initiatives works better in tackling as complex and fast-changing a target as containing the pandemic fallout. Rights of labourers and responsibilities of industry need to converge.

Source: Shutterstock

The pandemic is shining an uncomfortable light on the fissures in society, and showing that empathy and collaboration are key in the journey ahead. Addressing consumer concerns over safety and hygiene will be paramount in re-designing the post-lockdown world.

Digital transformation and technologies like AI are playing an ever-increasing role in developing agility and responsiveness at scale. Startups and SMEs will be hard hit, and need to work systematically on a ‘Plan B.’ Unfortunately, information overload, fake news, and hate speech continue to be serious concerns in India.

Philanthropic funding is fortunately increasing, but the governments need to roll out more broad-based reforms and communicate their relief packages more effectively. In the long run, Indian states need to do much more to improve the healthcare, agriculture and logistics sectors.  

In response to the crisis, YourStory has set up the Resource Centre for Startups and SMBs. When worry, fear, and misinformation are spreading, this online resource helps set the record straight through expert advice, business tips, wellness practices, and workflow suggestions. See also our pick of 60 quotes on coping with a crisis.

Our COVID response will show that bold action is not only possible, it is a politically winning strategy. - Anshuman Bapna,

Governments are likely to feel vitalised and supported by their citizens to take a more active role in shaping economic activity. - Ritesh Singh, ARM Worldwide

In a challenging time like this, it is our responsibility to overcome the obstacles and provide help to the needy. - Bhushan Kumar, T-Series

The lockdown is a time for introspection – the idea that wildlife populations will reclaim urban environments during this period seems quite far-fetched as animals have always been part of our surroundings. - Kartick Satyanarayan, Wildlife SOS

There is a sense of foreboding that as a society we are not reaching deep within ourselves to help the truly down and out. These are extraordinary times. - Kaushik Raju, The Atria Group

In these times, we truly realise that every single thing is truly connected. How pricing, profits, and everything affects jobs. - Kunal Shah, CRED

Today, personal health has become the epitome of everything that we can think of. Preventive and predictive health has taken centre stage. - Dr Subhasish Sircar, Health Vectors

The new normal is going to be primarily about hygiene-first policies. - Vishal Sehgal, Portea Medical

Some of the questions that doctors are facing today is how they can serve the maximum number of people given the travel restrictions and paucity of doctors in the country. - Pankaj Agrawal, Cisco

The COVID-19 pandemic has become a global health crisis, and has a devastating effect on everyone, especially on pregnant women. - Dr Venkatesh Babu

In times like these, having the nutraceutical industries operate is vital. It will get challenging for the government to fulfil the basic nutritional needs of our population. - Sushil Khaitan,

We have had cases where people are willing to walk 5 km to get medication. Even for counsellors, the burnout is real. - Jasmine Lovely George, Hidden Pockets

Mumbai needs to be wary and pay heed to social distancing guidelines to avoid becoming the next New York. - Anil Mathews, Near

AI is immune to people feeding data, and can work on giant expanses of the population even without that. - Anindya Datta, Mobilewalla

Everyone needs to have a backup plan in place. Earlier Plan B’s were luxurious, but now it will be very important. - Ankit Nagori, Curefit

Identifying emerging consumer behaviour will help you understand their needs and cater to them in a better way. - Saahil Goel, Shiprocket

The focus on unit economics is cyclical too. It comes into fashion for two to three years, and goes out again. - Avnish Bajaj, Matrix Partners India

While overall funding may decline, remember that this recession is triggered by a global pandemic and not by a liquidity crunch like in 2008. - Ankur Mittal, Inflection Point Ventures

While VC activity is slowing down, we are seeing a strong increase in philanthropic investment in all regions of the world. - Jonathan Lavender, KPMG

Agility will be the single biggest reason why some organizations will tide over this crisis. - Narendra Singh Dahiya, Homefoodi

Continuously realign your plans. Be very nimble, can’t be married to last week’s plan. - Abhiraj Bhal, Urban Company

The year 2020 will be the year of necessity spending. - Jahan Tahiliani, Tahiliani Homes

Every industry requires human resource to develop and flourish. - Kerala State Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan

Look at the beautiful skies and everybody is talking about mother nature being regenerated. So, latch onto the positive and live in the moment. - Poonam Sapra

The smartest people know that sometimes the secret sauce is that there just isn’t any. - Asheesh Chanda, Kristal.AI

Technology platforms are the basis for competitive advantage in the 21st century. - Arvind Krishna, IBM

With technology solutions to boost financial literacy, business owners can understand the true cost of running the business. - Aditi Puri Batra, Intuit QuickBooks India

The current and unfortunate scenario of the global outbreak of COVID-19 underscores the criticality of data centres in the digital economy of the 21st century. - Nikhil Rathi, Web Werks India

The future will belong to those companies who can keep communication and collaboration going during difficult times, and continue with the same model post crisis. The three key points are planning, prioritisation, and agile execution. - Dilipkumar Khandelwal,  Deutsche Bank

AI is a potent tool that, other than efficiently managing the chasm between demand and supply, can also play a key role in decreasing anxiety and uncertainty among the masses. - Suhale Kapoor, Absolutdata

In the current scenario, digitisation is the need of the hour since it is vital for consumers to get essential commodities at their doorstep. - Jayesh Ranjan, Govt. of Telangana

Online learning has emerged as the most viable tool for educators looking to ensure that the pandemic’s impact on their learners’ academic progress is minimised. - Siddhartha Gupta, Mercer|Mettl

Agritech is a segment which continues to see tailwinds despite COVID-19-related issues. - Vinod Murali, Alteria Capital

It is critical to ensure that farmers don’t lose confidence and continue to sow their farms, thereby maintaining a steady supply to meet the demand. - Vasudevan Chinnathambi, Ninjacart

Setting up cold storage facilities, subsidising farm inputs, and incentivising local communities to establish food grain banks, are some steps that can be taken to prevent a crisis from blowing out of proportion in the future. - Krishna Prasad, Sahaja Samrudha

Local brands and Indian kirana stores have shown resilience, with recovery of almost 65 percent by the third week of the lockdown. - Lalit Bhise, Mobisy Technologies

We are seeing an increase in searches for products in categories such as laptops, consumer electronics (such as headphones), mobiles, air conditioners, coolers, t-shirts, and other essentials. - Anil Goteti, Flipkart

Delivery will remain important as people won’t eat out much. But while opting for dining in, consumers will want assurance, they will want to know where ingredients are coming from. - Kallol Banerjee, Rebel Foods

Hyperlocal service availability is the need of the hour to maintain lockdown restrictions. - San Banerjee, ADDA

A lot of people are also trying to recreate foods they would ordinarily eat at a restaurant. - Kavita Kishore, Isolation Cooks

Spread of misinformation is an industry-wide concern and a shared responsibility. - Nikhil Gandhi, TikTok India

Support newspapers and journalism when you can — a free press is more important than ever in these times of rampant misinformation. - Alysha Naples, Tin Drum

The RBI has emphasised on transacting digitally and has urged customers to use online banking facilities, ensuring contactless transactions. - Sunil Khosla, ITSL

We also need to provide financial relief to truck owners, transporters, distributors, farmers and agent community to help them recover the loss. - Rajesh Yabaji, BlackBuck

It is becoming more difficult for traders to pay full salary for the period of April to their employees since they are undergoing a tremendous financial crunch. - BC Bhartia, CAIT

A modest 30 percent job loss could mean over two million people directly employed in the sector, being rendered jobless. This may lead to larger societal problems. - Anurag Katriar, NRAI

Most architects and interior designers fall under small businesses therefore the challenge currently is mainly how to sustain the business and keep it running and afloat. - Disha Bhavsar, Quirk Studio

While the MSME sector has done so much for the country, the government is providing very little help during this difficult time. - Japna Rishi Kaushik, Hungry Foal

India has 63 million MSMEs but only 32 percent of them are digitally engaged. The others must change their strategy and digitise their business processes to survive in the long run. - Sandip Chhettri,

YourStory has also published the pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups’ as a creative and motivational guide for innovators (downloadable as apps here: Apple, Android).