India is currently undergoing fourth phase of nationwide lockdown which is slated to end on May31. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had first given the clarion call for a nationwide lockdown on March24 in order to limit the spread of the Novel Coronavirus. Since then the lockdown has been extended thrice and it can be further extended to June15.

Lockdown for India is both a historic and necessary step for countering the spread of the virus. In the meantime, the government undertook many initiatives to defend the country against COVID-19.

An effective strategy is required for fighting COVID-19 for minimizing risks and maximizing results, and for that it is crucial to identify the internal and external factors correctly.

A SWOT analysis gives an idea about India’s current position in tackling the pandemic. This analysis examines India’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats on the COVID front and aims to come out with recommendations that can help battle the crisis.

STRENGTHS
 Existing Infrastructure like schools, railway coaches, hotels, offices etc. Were converted into Isolation wards.

 India is the largest producer and supplier of hydroxychoroquine, a prospective drug for treating COVID-19.

 Rapid measures were undertaken such as imposing travel restrictions and lockdown that enabled India to balance its supply and demand.

 All domestic and international travellers and offices are mandated to undergo a compulsory thermal screening check.

 Transparent communication by the leadership led to compliance of requisite directions given to the masses to slowdown the spread of COVID-19.

 The medical and health system is gradually gearing up to take on the new challenge.

 Huge repository of start-ups, intellectual property, platforms generated to fight against the crisis.
Asimov Robotics , a start-up based in Kerala, has deployed robots at entrances to offices buildings and other public places to dispense hand sanitiser and deliver public health messages about the virus. They are also being deployed in hospital isolation wards to carry food and medicines, which eases the pressure on medical staff.

In early April, the Indian government launched a COVID-19 tracking app called AAROGYA SETU which uses GPS and Bluetooth to inform people when they are at risk of exposure to COVID-19.

Amid COVID-19 pandemic, IIT-Mandi Researchers developed two low cost portable ventilators.

IIT-Roorkee developed a low-cost portable ventilator that can be useful for COVID-19 patients and named it ‘PRANA-VAYU’. It is developed in collaboration with AIIMS Rishikesh.

IIT-Delhi’s start-up Estylo installed full-body sanitisation tunnel at Delhi’s Azadpur Vegetables and Fruits Wholesale Market.

Four engineers from Indore city have developed an ‘Ultraviolet Sanitizer Machine’ which can sterilize the necessary items used by police personnel and healthcare workers within minutes.

DRDO developed ‘UV Disinfection Tower’ for sanitising coronavirus-prone areas.

WEAKNESSES
 Lack of testing kits and relief materials like medical equipment, PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), masks and ventilators.

 Challenge in manufacturing testing kits and relief material indigenously, making us dependent on imports.

 Lack of awareness among specific sections of the society.

 Psychological barrier relating to isolation: People fear the quarantine conditions.

 Highly susceptible to diseases and poor immunity.

 High incubation period ranging from 1 day to 14 days.

 Shortage of emergency healthcare infrastructure and professionals.

 Doctor to patient ratio is 1:1445.

 Hospital beds to people ratio is 0.1:1000.

 Ventilators to population ratio is 40000:1.3 billion.

 Lack of flexible employee working arrangements.

OPPORTUNITIES
 Create a robust third-tier structure of governance (at panchayat/gramin level) for monitoring and spreading awareness.

 India can emerge as a world leader by setting example for other nations on how to fight the crisis like India’s Minister of Health and Family Welfare Dr. Harsh Vardhan took charge as the WHO’s Executive Board by replacing Japan.
India scored perfect 100 on ‘OXFORD COVID-19 Government Response Tracker’ by the University of OXFORD and identified India’s response as one of the most stringent in the world.
WHO (World Health Organisation) praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiatives to fight against COVID-19.

 Development of standard operating policies and procedures in the form of emergency preparedness and response plan for the present and future outbreaks.

 Development of a vaccine/antidote for COVID-19.

 Involve start-ups, MSME, Corporate Research and Development (R&D) and Academic Institutions for providing innovative solutions for fighting COVID.
Explore the allied sectors that became prominent due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including technological interventions like video conferencing for carrying out work from home and education.

THREATS
 Failure in contact tracing may lead to worsening of the present situation and increase in the probability of being hit by the second wave of COVID-19.

 Coronavirus has attained level 3 of the epidemic i.e. community transmission stage.

 Breach of lockdown protocols and social-distancing norms.

 Increased chances of spread of infection (high population density with 27.9%people lying below the poverty line).

 Higher chances of frontline workers contracting the disease.

 Dwindled the economy and overall growth of the nation.

 Impact on stock markets as well as a global, national and local trade.
Worldwide lockdown catalyzing slowdown into recession leading to increase the unemployment and poverty levels.

India can use strengths to maximize opportunities by:

 Development of strong third-tier governance system (panchayat level, similar to Kerala’s governance model) for educating and monitoring people.

 Carrying ahead intellectual repository created to fight the crisis into the post-pandemic world.

 Making use of R&D (Research and Development) for rapid development of COVID-19 vaccine/antidote.
30 different companies are trying to produce an Indian vaccine to fight against the pandemic at large. The WHO has given approval to atleast 7 of them. They are:
i) ICMR-Bharat Biotech Vaccine
ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) has collaborated with BBIL (Bharat Biotech International Limited).
ii) Serum Institute of India (SII)
SII partnered with University of OXFORD.
iii) Mynvax
Mynvax collaborated with IISC Bengaluru.
iv) Zydus Cadila
v) Indian Immunological Limited (IIL)
IIL has joined hands with a University from Australia.

 India can take the lead in becoming the next favourable destination for housing business operations of Multinational Corporations.

As a direct fall out of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Multinationals with manufacturing plants in China are looking to shift operations out. India has to make its move by welcoming those MNCs.

The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath recently had avideo conference with number of American companies. The Uttar Pradesh government is working on a package to attract them.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami has set up a special investment promotion task force headed by the Chief Secretary to attract investments from Multinationals looking to move out of China. In particular, it is trying to get companies from Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and the US.

India can use strengths to minimize threats by:

 Extending health assurance benefits to the larger masses.

 Implementation of the strong operating policies and procedures for present and future outbreaks.

 Providing a policy boost to existing start-ups, MSME and manufacturing sectors for uplifting the economy and employment generating.

 Build investor trust by taking initiatives to promote Foreign Direct Investments.

India can use opportunities to minimize weakness by:

 Make use of start-ups, MSMEs and Indian labs for the production of PPEs, testing kits, ventilators etc.

India, which was not manufacturing even a single PPE kit, has now achieved an almost unrealistic goal of producing 2.06 lakh PPE kits daily within 2 months after the coronavirus outbreak.

The government has identified atleast 110 domestic manufacturers of PPE kits in the country. However, only 52 companies are manufacturing PPE kits right now.

Pune-based Mylab Discovery Solutions is manufacturing testing kits for COVID-19. It has partnered with Serum Institute of Technology (SII) to help scale up production of the tests early in April month.

Defence Public Sector Undertaking (DPSU) Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) will manufacture 30,000 ventilators within 2 months for Intensive Care Units (ICU) in the country.

The Ahmedabad Textile Industry Research Association (ATIRA) in collaboration with DRDO has produced high-quality cloth to make masks of 99 percent filter efficiency, the highest amongst all kinds of masks available in the country. ATIRA is developing the cloth material for the preparation of 5 lakh ‘N-99 masks’ which would be better in quality than the N-95 masks that have been in huge demand of late in the fight against coronavirus.

 Develop necessary technical infrastructures to ensure smooth and flexible employee working arrangements to minimize job losses.

During the lockdown, Indian IT Industry made employees “Work From Home” (WFH) as per government’s mandate. During the lockdown, the IT Industry transitioned to WFH model rather smoothly providing business continuity to clients with lowering quality or productivity, surprising industry leaders and customers alike.

India can prevent weaknesses turning to threats by:
 Ensure adequate infrastructure and protect our frontline workers and healthcare staff.

Nearly 5.11 lakh PPEs have been supplied to various states/central hospitals by the Central government, which have added to the initial stock of 2.75 lakhs available with States. The Ministry has also supplied 30.32 lakh N95 masks to states which is over and above the initial stock of 16.67 lakh N-95 masks with them.

Under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan package, the government has announced an Accidental Insurance cover of Rs 50 lakhs for 22.12 lakh healthcare workerswho may be drafted for services for COVID-19 patients. The scheme covers loss of life due to COVID-19 and accidental death on account of COVID-19 related duty.
 Find, isolate, test and treat to prevent the present situation from getting worse.
 Specific actions to be taken for the people Below the Poverty Line (BPL).

Women in 8.3 crore BPL families are covered under Ujjwala Scheme will get free cylinders for 3 months.

20 crore women Jan Dhan Account holders will get an ex-gratia amount of Rs 500 per month for 3 months.

Three crore poor senior citizens, widows, disabled to get one-time ex-gratia amount of Rs 1000 in two instalments.

Wages under MGNREGA to be hiked to Rs 202 from Rs 182, which would mean an additional Rs 2000 to every worker.

The government is providing 5 kg food grains per person and 1 kg of pulses per household under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana for next 3 months to 80 crore poor beneficiaries covered under National Food Security Act (NFSA) to ensure availability of food to poor people during lockdown due to COVID-19.

 Expect and plan a rapid response to the rising number of cases to avoid pressure on the healthcare system.

 Practice social distancing to protect the vulnerable.

 Increase the frequency and reach of awareness campaigns to educate and help people overcome psychological barriers.

Authored by-

Mr. Ujjwal Kumar Dey – Management Trainee- TVC
[email protected]
Chetana’s Institute of Management and Research Mumbai , Batch : 2019- 2021