Coronavirus has forced upon us the fourth Industrial revolution with work from home, says Amitabh Kant

  • In a virtual interview with the Observer Research Foundation, Kant said that the coronavirus has ushered in the fourth industrial revolution where people work from anywhere they want to.
  • Kant says in the world of tomorrow – technology will enable us to work from home effortlessly.
  • But there’s a trick to it – work towards ‘defined outcomes’.
Amitabh Kant, CEO, Niti Aayog, said these are ‘extraordinary and challenging times’. In a virtual interview with the Observer Research Foundation, Kant said that the coronavirus has ushered in the fourth industrial revolution where people work from anywhere they want to.

“It is far more critical to save the lives of citizens than the economic cost of it. The next 15 days you will see major radical measures being taken that will enable us to use technology to work from home, connect with each other and do a lot of other work. In many ways, this great paradigm shift due to coronavirus is basically what Industrial revolution 4.0 was in some way about. It’s all about how we make our population – flexible and adaptable, and enable them to operate from different places,” Kant said.

But companies are also critical of the ‘work from home’. There are several doubts on whether this could eventually affect productivity, lead to misunderstandings and more. Moreover, work from home would also require internet connectivity at the homes of employees to be stable at all times.

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Kant says in the world of tomorrow – technology will enable us to work from home effortlessly. But there’s a trick to it – work towards ‘defined outcomes’.

“Future of jobs for millennials and the gig economy will be about working from different locations, multitasking. The world of tomorrow will ensure that you will be delving into many areas, doing multiple tasks at a time. So it’s important to have defined outcomes. Even in the government, don’t work on financial and physical achievements but for the defined outcomes,” he said.

Currently in India, while the private sector has been asked to work from homes, public sector employees continue to work in shifts, and with 50% occupancy.

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Kant further said that in the near future, remote working will be the mandate for the public sector as well. He said that with defined outcomes measurable by third parties, this would be possible.

He added that this goes out to the education sector as well. Ever since people have been advised to stay home, schools have been shut across the country. Edtech startups like Byju’s, Toppr, Unacademy, have opened up their courses to be free for all so that students can continue to learn.

Kant too shared one such example where digital learning has actually helped a class in some of India’s most backward districts – Banka and Godda.

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“On the Diksha portal - the best teachers from across India come together, their classes, lectures get translated into the local language and students can access it on mobile too.We used this program, and mobile technology and digital classrooms have enabled us to improve class attendance from 15% to 80% and learning outcomes have gone up from 25% to 75% only because of the sheer use of tech. That is increasingly what will happen,” said Kant.

He added that similar results will be seen in the healthcare sector as well.

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