A snap poll of CEOs by CNBCTV18-Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) has revealed that 77% of them want a calibrated exit from the the nationwide lockdown that came into effect on March 24.
A graded exit will be good for their businesses, felt 86% of the CEOs polled.
On the effectiveness of India's COVID-19 strategy, 73% of the respondents said it has been successful so far.
Return to normalcy
More than half the respondents -- 54% -- said they expected their businesses to return to normal in six months to a year. Another 16% said they expected normalcy to return in less than six months and 29% said it would take more than a year for things to get back to normal.
One out of every two respondents said they expected a more than 25% decline in their topline this year. Four out 10 CEOs said the fall in revenues could be between 10%-25% this year.
On operating margins, 44% of the CEOs said they expected a decline of over 25% this year. Roughly, a similar percentage of CEOs said the decline in margins would be between 10%-25%.
In heartening news, 71% of the CEOs said layoffs were not imminent in their organisations. There are widespread concerns over job losses given that many sectors have suffered a damage to their very business model since the outbreak of the pandemic.
On wage reduction, 34% of the CEOs said salary cuts were imminent in their organisations. Another 37% could not say at this point if they would resort to salary cuts.
Social distancing, work from home
An overwhelming nine out of 10 CEOs said their workplaces were equipped for social distancing. Nearly four in 10 CEOs said they were taking steps to institutionalise work from home by their employees.
Seven out of ten CEOs say that the lockdown has helped them connect better with their families, and six out of 10 said the lockdown has given them space and time to rethink many aspects of their business.
Six of 10 CEOs are expecting major economic reforms in the near future.
Expectations of a recovery in the economy were almost evenly divided. One-third of the CEOs said the recovery could be 'convoluted'. Another 28% said the recovery was likely to be like a 'Nike Swoosh' and 25% expected a 'V-shaped recovery'.