It’s difficult to think about the future during these testing times but the Indian School of Business (ISB) in Hyderabad is determined to do it. They want to start thinking about India’s post-COVID economic situation right away. Hence, students and professors of ISB have joined hands to start [email protected], their initiative to help authorities make informed decisions during the crisis which will also help them post-COVID. “Someone needs to start thinking about recovery because when the new normal sets in, it won’t be business as usual. Everything will change. And since our strength is as an institute of applied social science, technology, leadership, entrepreneurship, business and economics, we decided to play to our strengths,” says Professor Ashwini Chhatre, who is leading the initiative.
The idea is that by June 14, the team behind [email protected] will select 20 projects that will be led by the faculty. These projects have been divided into eight broad spectrums including food and agriculture, informal economy, transportation, and logistics and mobility. Every project is led by a member of the faculty and students are chosen carefully. “Students will have to apply for the project they are interested in and prove why they are best suited to work in the domain,” explains the Professor of Public Policy and Director, Bharti Institute of Public Policy at ISB. Both faculty and students should see this as an opportunity to serve the nation.
Professor Ashwini Chhatre | (Pic: ISB)
Coming to the wide-ranging projects, the professor lets us in on a couple of the projects they are planning to take up like the procurement of chironji (a nut) from Jharkhand, which will be harvested in a month and be in the market by June-July. “The government of Jharkhand will do it anyway, the question is if we can help them do the job better in times like these. That’s where we step in,” he explains. Then there is the case study they’re developing of wheat procurement by the Punjab Mandi Board. “Earlier, farmers used to wait for hours to sell their produce but now, to avoid gatherings, the Board has started a digital token system. So, in a way, the pandemic has forced them to innovate. This case study can be applied to paddy procurement in states like Andhra Pradesh and Haryana as well,” he says and adds that they are already working with Vini Mahajan, Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Government of Punjab. So indeed, some interesting real-time learning is in store for students.
Under [email protected], they want to see this phase of projects conclude in the next three to eight months so that they can take up a fresh set of projects soon. “We are consciously trying not to solve the problems of the present, we want to look at the problems that will show up tomorrow,” says the professor.
ISB | (Pic: ISB)
Other areas that [email protected] will focus on:
– Institutionalising remote work: Reimagining jobs, workspaces, HR systems and leadership
– Corporate health tracker: Indicators to monitor the pulse of India Inc and financial markets to help in corporate decision-making and policy interventions
– Monitoring the recovery: High-resolution indices of economic activity to monitor progress and take corrective actions
– Boosting the economy: Operational and policy interventions to restart economic activity in a phased manner