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The COVID-19 crisis and the ensuing lockdown have required a show of resilience from communities, institutions and enterprises. The reduction in emissions due to industrial shutdowns, reduced road traffic, and fall in global production and consumption has resulted in a dramatic improvement in air quality. However, linkage disruptions and the ensuing free fall of financial markets have adversely impacted start-ups.
According to Nasscom’s start-up pulse survey (April 2020), 30-40% of 250 tech start-ups have halted their operations or are close to shutting down owing to the COVID-19 crisis. Additionally, according to Tracxn, start-up funding and number of start-ups founded have also been severely impacted, falling to nearly one-third of their numbers in 2020 compared to 2019. As cases in India continue to rise, increasing the uncertainty around normalcy , the government has announced a MSME relief package. This offers emergency working capital and equity infusion, while seeking help from start-ups through various COVID-19 innovation challenges.
As the economy gradually opens up, urban services such as provisioning of water supply and sewerage, electricity and waste collection and disposal remain challenges for urban local bodies (ULBs) who are burdened with limited resources and procedural barriers. Start-ups working in the spaces of water, waste and energy management who qualify as essential services have had to adapt to the lockdown scenario quickly, finding ways to protect their employees from contagion, and scale their services rapidly. Other enterprises have been able to pivot to adapt and repurpose their businesses to find use during the lockdown.
The webinar titled TheCityFix Labs: Adapting and Responding to a Public Health Crisis, will bring together entrepreneurs, investors, and health experts to discuss how the COVID-19 crisis, lockdown and gradual opening up of the economy has impacted urban service delivery. The role stakeholders have played in ensuring continued service provision and managing health risks, and what short term responses and long term adaptation strategies look like in the space will also be discussed. The webinar will aim to discuss the following key questions: