[Year in Review 2020] Nine months since national lockdown - 70 quotes from India’s COVID-19 struggle

India went into national lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 24. Today, nine months later on December 24, signs of hope with the vaccine are emerging.

Launched in 2014, StoryBites is a regular feature from YourStory, featuring notable quotable quotes in our articles. This special compilation captures quotes and excerpts from nine months of YourStory’s coverage of the pandemic crisis. Share these quotes with your colleagues and networks, and check back to the original articles for more insights.

We have clustered these nine months of quotes into nine categories: health, impacts and creative responses, mindset, India outlook, future of work, digital opportunity, new beginnings, crisis management, and leadership and entrepreneurship.

See also YourStory’s compilations of quotes on Crisis Management and Art in the Pandemic Era, and annual picks of Top 10 Books, Top 5 Pivot and Persist Stories, Top 20 Author Interviews, and Top 50 Entrepreneurship Quotes.

YourStory thanks the healthcare community and frontline workers for all their sacrifices in ensuring public safety and wellness, as well as all those reinventing their organisations for a successful future and a better world. We wish all entrepreneurs and our readers a Happy Holiday Season and Happy New Year ahead!

The health frontier

The challenge in front of us is ‘can we save every life currently at threat by the virus’. - Dr Vishal Rao, HCG Cancer Centre

Government hospital workers also need to be protected and people need to know the story about these field workers. - Shivang Tayal, Tayal Foundation

Science and Technology can address the challenges that society has been facing and continues to face today. - CN Ashwath Narayan, Deputy CM, Karnataka

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

Going forward, home diagnostics will reshape the way in which we view medical tests. This change will be permanent. - Aayush Rai, Inito

More people will access doctors, especially specialist doctors, through their smartphones and get their care delivered. This is an inevitable change that’s definitely accelerated by COVID-19. - Prasad Kompalli, Mfine

Workout from home has become a new normal in fitness around the world. - Dinesh Godara, TREAD

Health is no more about medicines; it is now a way of life. - Sanjaya Mariwala, OmniActive Health Technologies

Mental health has come to the forefront with the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, and the space has seen a huge surge in demand. - Pankaj Chaddah, Mindhouse

The happiest people are those who have shown gratitude in life. - Raul Rai, Nicobar

Even if you don't get sick, the choices you make about where you go could be the difference between life and death for someone else. - Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO

 “Stay safe” is no longer a cliche. Words, especially the positive ones have never been this impactful. - Sanjeev Grover, Dockabl

Designer masks are going to be a big trend as masks have become an integral part of our lives. - Ameet Panchal, Ethnicity

Impacts and creative responses

The outbreak of COVID-19 seems to be one major contributing factor to undo all efforts made in reducing and ending child labour. - Puja Marwaha, CRY

The effects of a psychological scar or setback for a child from missing school for an extended period can be permanent. - Ramji Raghavan, Agastya International Foundation

The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the lives of people with disabilities. Visually impaired persons cannot avoid touch and cannot maintain physical distancing in their true sense. - Prashant Ranjan Verma, NAB

Native artisans have suffered hugely during the pandemic and their recovery is perhaps the toughest. - Sriram Sabhapathy, LastBench

Music, dance, and theatre have the power to transcend borders and become a beacon of hope, especially in testing times like these. - Vandana Munjal, TFAC

With the forced slowing down we have all experienced in the last few months, the value of art as a balm for the spirit has really come to the fore. - Nupur Dalmia, Gallery Ark

When creative minds are behind locked doors, our souls expand to express more through art. - Shobha Iyer

Hunkered down does not mean an end to life, or to our ability to be creative and innovative. - Dharti Arvind Desai and Maggie Trabucco, TiE NY

Mindset and skillsets

It is important to navigate the crisis alongside customers. If you do so, you can become partners for life. - Ram Sukumar, Indium Software

During this pandemic, storytelling has taken the popular marketing strategy tagline “humanise your brand” to the next level. - Miri Rodriguez, ‘Brand Storytelling’

While the last few months have been difficult for many companies, it has forced everyone to focus on what truly matters. - Tarun Davda, Matrix India

Anyone who has not let the fear of the pandemic stop him or her from performing an essential function or doing a good turn is an example of resilience. - Meghaa Gupta, ‘Unearthed’

Learning and re-tooling are very important to not just recover but also build a sustainable and resilient business for the future. - Sandeep Lodha, Weddingz.in

Reskilling has become the need of the hour. Everyone has to develop new skills as learning is the mantra for survival. - Rishikesh Kumar, Xtraliving

Technology has allowed HR departments to find, manage, and retain good employees at a time when it has never been more important. - Biplab Chaudhuri, Cognatic Solutions

India outlook

India's GDP (gross domestic product) was hit by COVID-19, the highest across major economies. -  Goldman Sachs

The pandemic has fast-tracked the growth of the Indian medtech industry. - Nikhil Kurele, Nocca Robotics

Going forward, India will reimagine the future of work across five areas, specifically the workplace, careers, recruiting, business, and leadership styles. - Ashutosh Gupta, Linkedin India

COVID-19 has changed consumption patterns. Many first-time users in Tier II and III cities are coming online and becoming comfortable with shopping across all categories. - Mrigank Gutgutia, RedSeer

The public transport system in India is broken and overstressed. The pandemic has made the situation more delicate with heightened apprehensions around safety, hygiene, and sanitisation. - Siddharth Talwar, Lightbox Ventures

Working capital and credit has traditionally been a constraint for small and medium businesses as they are often unable to access formal channels for loans. The pandemic has only exacerbated the issue. - Noopur Chaturvedi, PayU India

The only way to recover is by accelerated inclusive growth. - Raghunath Anant Mashelkar

The new year should be about giving opportunities to everyone, especially those who were impacted by the pandemic. - Raghav Josh, Rebel Foods

Future of Work

To establish a pandemic-proof business continuity model, organisations need to focus on two key building blocks: the technology core and the organisational culture. - Sachin Bajaj, HCL Technologies

The cracks of work-from-home are now beginning to show. Not enough space for work and family, blurred boundaries of personal and professional space are leading to signs of reduced productivity and fatigue. - Robin Chhabra, Dextrus

The role of the office is going to change. It’s not going to be a place that you go into work, but it needs to be a place where you come to really connect with people. - Krish Shankar, Infosys

De-densified workspaces and a distributed workforce environment are here to stay. - Amit Ramani, Awfis

The new normal will be about work life integration more than work life balance. - Shilpa Vaid, Prione Group

We need to do everything we can to handhold millions of small businesses in their digital transformation journey and support business recovery during the current crisis. - Shalini Girish, Google

COVID-19 has emphasised the need to build integrated supply chains. Crisis or not, you still need food on the table. - Pankaj Raina, Zephyr Peacock India

Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is important from three different perspectives: customer retention, cost-effective product, and cash collection. - Padmaja Ruparel, IAN Fund

Digital opportunity

Startups in the fintech space in particular have a huge opportunity with this digital shift, once they are able to navigate the operational and financial hurdles. - Tanul Mishra, Afthonia Lab

While OTT platforms were making a mark for themselves in the Indian market, COVID-19 crisis accelerated the process. - Nasscom

The massive global health emergency (COVID-19) that caused job slashes all around the world and pushed job seekers to find opportunities on the internet, in turn, gave a boost to freelance marketplaces. - Vanshika Goenka, Kool Kanya

The pandemic has solidified opportunities in the contactless payments space. - Seshadri Kulkarni, DigitSecure

More and more travellers are exploring local hidden gems resulting in a boost in domestic travel. - Yatish Jain, OYO

While most learning used to happen in physical spaces, there will be rapid adoption of online learning even beyond COVID-19. - Bhavik Rathod, Kyt

The huge growth in social gaming, where friends and family are gaming together, will outlast the pandemic. - Salone Sehgal, Lumikai

People are spending more time at home and that is why the whole pandemic situation has actually boosted the home fashion business worldwide. - Aditya Gupta, The Rug Republic

New beginnings

We are foreseeing times that would divide human history into two eras - the world before the COVID-19 outbreak and one that survived it. - Gautam Adani

We have to change from being nationalists to being international. - David Attenborough

The coronavirus pandemic has shown us how interconnected and interdependent we are. - Sayonsom Chanda, Sync Energy

The power of togetherness is the greatest power of all. - Iti Rawat, WEFT

The universe is sending us a message: that if we mess with nature, there is a price we all have to pay. If there is a way when we can coexist with nature, include a way to care for nature in everything we do, it would go a long, long way. - Alia Bhatt, Ed-a-Mamma

The next frontier for human development will require working with and not against nature while transforming social norms, values, and government and financial incentives. - UNDP

The coronavirus has forced us to pause and figure out how we run businesses, how we travel and how we treat each other, and most important of all how we treat the world and the species present in this world. - Shoba Narayan

Crisis management

A crisis is a great time to show your statesmanship, commitment, and character. This is the time to contribute to nation-building. - Kalyan Krishnamurthy, Flipkart

The vision and courage of leaders show up in times of crisis. - Manoj Kohli, Softbank

Times of crisis are a major source of serendipity – but they also are an opportunity to re-evaluate what’s important to us. - Christian Busch, ‘The Serendipity Mindset’

Risk management is not an idea, it is a culture. - Hersh Shah, IRM India

Uncertainty is certain, and we should be ready for any kind of uncertainties in our life. - Sindhu Gangadharan, SAP Labs India

With each challenge, comes a new opportunity to unleash our creativity and create something more beautiful than ever before. - Sanjeev Aggarwal, Orvi

Leadership and entrepreneurship

Innovation is no longer an option, but a necessity. We have seen how the recent crisis has spurred the need for transformation; for organisations to adapt and innovate in order to emerge stronger. - Rajiv Sodhi, Microsoft India

It’s safe to say that the next normal is really cross-border innovation. - Smita Malipatil, IndiVillage

Crises usually create room for rapid innovation and improvisation. - Awais Ahmed, Pixxel

The coronavirus crisis is a catalyst for entrepreneurship. Throughout human history, crises have been pivotal in developing our societies. - Geetha Ramamurthy, GiGa Innovation Centre

Impact entrepreneurship will play a critical role as we enter the new normal in curbing inequalities between the “haves” and “have-nots”. - Kunal Sood, X Fellows

The bigger the crisis, sometimes the bolder the changes that are needed. - Vani Kola, Kalaari Capital

Many will fail. And this is not the end of the world. Prepare yourself for the opportunity that is lurking right behind the corner. - Abhishek Rungta, TiE Kolkata

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).

Edited by Suman Singh


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