Hunger may kill more people than COVID-19, if the lockdown is extended, Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy said on April 29. India must accept the coronavirus as the new normal, he added, as quoted by The Economic Times.
Murthy suggested that the country should enable those who are able-bodied to return to work, while taking care of those who are vulnerable to infection.
"What is important for us to understand is that India cannot continue in this situation for too long. Because at some point of time, deaths due to hunger will far outweigh deaths due to coronavirus," he added, pointing at the effects of the nationwide lockdown.
The Infosys founder noted that India's mortality rate is lower than many developed nations, and added that the national lockdown has been able to flatten the curve in most places.
So far, more than 31,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in India, of which 1,008 have died since the first case was reported on January 30.
Speaking about the effect of the lockdown on economy and businesses, Murthy said most have lost 15-20 percent of their revenues. This will in turn have an adverse effect on income tax and goods and services tax (GST) collections.
The International Monetary Fund has estimated India's GDP growth to slow down to 1.9% this year, from 4.5% last year, Murthy said.
Murthy also suggested entrepreneurs to focus on increasing innovation and develop ways to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Pointing at opportunities for the Indian IT sector amid the pandemic, Murthy said companies, globally, would cut costs and invest in technology, and domestic companies should work hard to deliver services and expand their business.
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