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Easing lockdown a gamble?

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Rupankar Dey
A student of history persuing Bachelor's from Calcutta University

It has been a regular debate in the television and newspaper in recent weeks on whether India’s draconian total lockdown was a justifiable decision. Many experts are expressing their concern on whether relaxing lockdown is a wise decision when the Covid-19 positive cases are still rising. At a macro level this is a gamble. It is expected that in a highly populous country like India, these rising number of positive covid-19 cases might shoot up like a bullet as soon as the lockdown is lifted. Moreover, there might be many other concerning consequences which will manifest like a forest fire whose burn will be felt by a major percentage of the population. Here in this following piece I am going to explain to my readers that why the Government doesn’t have any other option, except to lift the three month long lockdown.

According to a report published in an article in Business Standard, it was estimated that around 812 million people out of India’s 1.3 billion population were under Below Poverty Line before the lockdown started. That same article commented that while during the phase of this lockdown this figure shoots up to another 100 million which will lead to a catastrophic result in the livelihood of millions of poor people. As per the 2018-19 NITI AYOG economic survey data, quoted by the Business Today, about 93% of the total workforce is in informal sector which is already in a gloomy stage due to the existing economic recession which has been continuing for the last successive quarters. On top of this economic recession, arrival of this draconic lockdown puts the economy in a completely static state.

People engaged in various small businesses and MSME are mostly hard hit. Owners of these businesses cannot earn any profit as there is a no demand in the market, as a result of which they cannot pay their workers. So the labourers and workers are not even getting their wages properly. This resulted to the huge migrant crisis as many of them have come from various states for improving their livelihood. But now they cannot even pay their rent and buy food. This labour force in a new way came under the above mentioned 100 million club poor people who within months receive sudden pay cuts, lost their jobs and felt the repercussion of the worst hit of the economy. According to the data published by Center for Monitoring Indian Economy, some of 122 million people lost their jobs in this lockdown as a result of which, daily wage labourers and small businessman like road side hawkers, vendors, ricksawwalas etc, they moved to below poverty line graph. And by default they slowly cut their calorie intake and most of them going hungry which will gradually lead to the rise in the state of mortality due to hunger.

While in parallel manner if we compare the mortality rate due to COVID in India it is one of the lowest among the world and that is around 2.83% as mentioned by our Honorable Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan on 1st June 2020. Moreover, with an improving recovery rate at 48.19% as of Times of India 1st June report. Although up till now there is no COVID antidote to defeat the virus but it can be controlled by physical distancing for which the state rigorously have to carry on strict measures while in the other case if the lockdown prevails more people will die due to hunger because of the rising poverty, which will grow up if the factories, markets and other sectors are not set to open. Beside that, lockdown cannot be continued for indefinite period of time it’s simply like a pause button which will give more time to the administration for buckling up and setting up the health infrastructure to fight against the pandemic and to aware its citizens. It’s our moral duty as a citizen to follow the rules and regulations set by the state in various offices, factories etc.


Sources
1.https://wap.business-standard.com/article-amp/economy-policy/coronavirus-impact-over-100-million-indians-could-fall-below-poverty-line-120041700906_1.html
2.https://www.businesstoday.in/sectors/jobs/labour-law-reforms-no-one-knows-actual-size-india-informal-workforce-not-even-govt/story/364361.
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Rupankar Dey
A student of history persuing Bachelor's from Calcutta University

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