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Automation , Aatmanirbharta (Self-Reliance) & Vada Pav (Indian Burger)

Blog: NASSCOM Official Blog

Finding the New Deal in my Happy Meal

My husband and I walked into the nearest Mc Donald’s store (in Pune) for a lazy Sunday binge earlier this year.

It’s a large outlet and remains fairly crowded over the weekends. Primarily thronged by youngsters and children leaning over the billing counters asking for their favourite meals makes the store vibrant and cheerful.

We noticed a change that day!

The New Play Things at McD (Image courtesy- Mc Donald’s India)

The children who usually lined up at the billing counters, were lining up to explore the NEW automated ‘Order and Pay Here’ and pick up at the counter instead of bothering the man at the counter.

Perhaps, the added fun element was swiping their parents’ card while making click choices for their meals themselves.

They were becoming self-reliant (or aatmanirbhar) and automation only aided the aatmanirbharta of the generation.

Organizations embracing automation (Image Courtesy – Morning Brews)

The Automation Deal

Organizations were adopting automation in labour intensive industries even before the COVID pandemic, but they were cautious in their approach.1

Many such retail outlets like Mc Donald’s have been experimenting with technology and reducing human-run checkouts or cashiers even before the pandemic. Amazon’s Supermarket in Seattle has no checkout assistants for example. Sensors and ‘Just Walk Out’ technology billing counters reduce queues and the need for human contact.

Investments in the automation industry were witnessing a gradual rise however, the pandemic has forced organizations to think about automation and labour rather seriously.

The Cusp of Change

In a survey conducted by EY, 41% of the respondents(leaders of organizations) said that they would soon be investing in accelerating automation within their industry while preparing for a post-crisis world.2

Here are some reasons and key changes within organizations that may drive you towards automation leading to self-reliance:

 What’s next then?

The financial implications of COVID – 19 have impacted investments in automation and organizations are following a ‘wait & watch’ approach while limiting expenditures. However, once the demand increases and financials improve in Q4’20 or in 2021, the investments in automation are bound to gain momentum.

Growth of domestic production will then rest on the use of innovative ideas along with mapped automation techniques to make globally competitive products locally.
For instance, Bharat Prajapati, a gadget enthusiast from Gujarat invented a self-dispensing paani-puri vending machine recently. Users insert the money from one side, while the golgappas slide in from the other side.

I’m also thinking of a vada pav kiosk version for the local vendors!

What do you think?

Leave your thoughts below.


  1. COVID-19 – Tipping point for automation. (2020, April 15). NASSCOM Community |The Official Community of Indian IT Industry.
  2. Chandler, S. (2020, May 13). Coronavirus is forcing companies to speed up automation, for better and for worse. Forbes.
  3. The COVID-19 crisis will accelerate enterprise automation plans. (2020, May 5). Home · Forrester.
  4. AI and automation in HR: Impact, adoption and future workforce. (2019, November 1). AIHR Digital.

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