In a survey conducted recently, an overwhelming section of respondents ― 82 per cent ― said they were confident of a thriving, new normal coming into play in the next few years. Respondents aged 41-60 were are the most confident. Among the various employment status categories, respondents with full-time employment were the most confident.
For the respondents, economic growth and job creation were top priorities. The next three priorities include health and medical care; equitable growth and providing basic necessities of life-food, water and housing; and education and skill development.
These were the findings of the ‘Sangam 2020: Driving the New Normal Survey’ conducted by IIT Madras Alumni Association, in collaboration with the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India.
The survey was undertaken to gauge the perceptions about the state of the ‘New Normal’ and the confidence level about thriving in the new normal, priority focus areas and technologies for India. There were 1,564 respondents with 57 per cent being IIT Madras alumni and 78 per cent with a high degree of education in science.
The survey released at Sangam 2020 was benchmarked with similar global surveys conducted by the UK Charter for Science and Society, and the European Commission (Special Eurobarometer). The organisers felt that the survey would provide valuable inputs to the science and technology planning process in India.
The Covid-19 pandemic and humanity’s response to the medical, economic and social crises it has unleashed were central to the deliberations. The IITMAA said that through the survey it wanted to understand the perspectives and perceptions of the public in dealing with the new normal and the role of science and technology in that reality.
To a question on what are the priority technology domains for India in this new normal, the reply was that the top-most technology priority for India is IT, including AI and communication technologies. The next two technology priorities are agriculture technology, environmental technology (tech for energy, water and air).
On how digitisation will affect the future of work and education, nearly 92 per cent of the respondents felt that remote working is here to stay in the areas of work and education (69 per cent). A hybrid model (remote + onsite) will be the dominant model in the future in work (83 per cent) and education (65 per cent).
Among the respondents who believe that life will return to a situation as before the pandemic, they believe that it is 3.5X more likely to happen in education than in the sphere of work.
The younger respondents believe the least that this digitisation will be permanent in both work and education. The net score of those under 21 and 21-40 are just over half of those in the age group of 41-60 and over 60, the survey said. There were many more questions on a range of topics.
The association, representing around 50,000 IIT Madras alumni across the world, has converted its flagship annual event ― Sangam ― into a fully online, global conference this year. Sangam 2020, from December 1 to 6, with the theme ‘Driving the New Normal’, deliberated upon how governments, businesses and individuals can convert this moment of crisis caused by the global pandemic Covid-19 into an era of opportunities.