Covid 19: Challenges and Potential Opportunities

The Pandemic has forced health emergencies and a global crisis. As of now, there is more than 40 lakh people infected by coronavirus with over 3 lakh deaths. This is definitely unprecedented and more destructive than any other calamity of the twenty-first century i.e. 9/11 and 2009 global financial crisis. However the impact of both these disasters were felt Internationally due to highly connected world. COVID-19, on the other hand, also carries a worldwide impact but is distinct in its entirety with disturbances in demand supply chain, Global value chain (GVC) and pressure on health services all over the world.

Covid 19: Challenges and Potential Opportunities

We have some already escalated crises demanding urgent attention like The climate change and global warming. The severity of which has reached up to an alarming level. Government from all over the world may have different ideologies, belief system and priorities but when it comes to these elephant in the room, they all have shown no intentions whatsoever to take on these modern world challenges.So it is not rational to expect some concrete steps and proactive actions from these change resisting governments. Interestingly, we all are enjoying considerable clean air in otherwise polluted cities. Now the ball is in the court of citizens to decide whether they want the same old world with same old problems revolving around pollution, unemployment, poverty, corruption and oppression. Or they want a change by focusing on the potential solutions.

If citizens reach to a consensus to welcome change inducing mindset then there is a need to exercise our critical thinking and demand some relevant and contemporary solutions to problematic issues we are facing as humanity. Let's explore one such potential opportunity knocking our door for attention. In India, there is a huge problem of migrant labourers, uncertainty in the service sector , disruption in education sector with confusion around examinations and academics sessions along with various other socio-economic and political issues. Among these loomy pictures, we need to look at the disparity in the socioeconomic status of genders which acts as an impediment for women's advancement in the social ladder. They are struggling for survival with mental health issues, sexual violence and financial constraints. As a primary caregiver of their family, the lockdown has severely restricted women's access to necessary items like groceries, vegetables and medicines putting additional load on women. But here comes the twist which shows grit of Indian women. In past couple of months, we have seen the emergence of Mask, Hand sanitizers and PPE industry where Women Self Help Groups (SHGs) are actively leading the path in handling and mitigating the COVID-19 crisis. They are also showing active participation in awareness campaigns about Physical hygiene, social distancing and combating social stigmas around infected persons. Women, for centuries struggled for social equality, economic empowerment and political representation. However, in this extraordinary chapter in history of humankind they have proved that Women are pillars of Indian Society. This selfless contribution should be continued and recognized by governments, communities and their families. What we need is to prioritise women empowerment in our socio-political narrative. Talking about our young generation, they need to acknowledge their potent power first then only it will be possible to assess, evaluate and explore their role in shaping future of the Nation. Possibilities are unlimited when ambitious ideas meet disruptive innovation. History taught us that various incidents where imagination & creativity breeds extraordinary inventions that give humanity a quantum leap in science and Technology. It only requires enthusiastic and curious minds partnering relevant knowledge, skill sets and technological tools. Kindly note , Age is just a number and an individual is eligible of being a youth if it fits the criteria of having passion, endless motivation and perseverance to change this world for better. Educational institutions must play a guiding role in nurturing young minds not to make them job ready individuals but to inculcate real life skills with entrepreneurial approach. Who would have thought some decades ago that we will have driver less cars, a computer which interacts with us on daily basis like Siri or Alexa and most recently Aarogya Setu which monitors our location and acts on data provided by us. That proves that all we require to do is to learn designing a fiction into a concrete model using technology as an enabler. Active Citizen Participation in Democracy to hold political leaders accountable and a will power to prioritise what really we need as a society. The key to this door of opportunity lies in establishing a long term strategic vision towards an inclusive, progressive and liberal world.

Puneet Singh Singhal has done masters in International Relations from Annamalai University. He is co-founder of an NGO called The Caring Hands Foundation dedicated to different social and environmental issues. He is a member of peace committee of Delhi minority commission under the govt of NCT of Delhi.
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