As the Coronavirus pandemic escalates, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed the nationwide lockdown resembling to the curfew and asked the propel stay at homes for 21 days. Most of the local governments have already declared an emergency and shut down schools, shops, and all public gatherings as well as imposed severe international and domestic travel restrictions. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) tens of millions of people are already quarantined, with more joining them soon, in Europe – now the epicenter. Although India is not in that much critical condition but as the experts across the world are predicting, it can face serious challenges in order to cope with this deadly disease.
Since India is looking over every measure to curb from Coronavirus and shutting everything down. The logic of these measures is simple that if people limit their interaction, they can reduce the rate at which the virus is transmitted. This is the reason social distancing measures are widely accepted as good step even though they are horrible for the people particularly in a country wherein people are strongly connected with each other.
Despite the lockdown is only solution to fight against Coronavirus, it has some negative, unintended and drastic consequences over the life of common men who are living at higher risk for their survival amid this lockdown. Think of people in gig economy. Delivery drivers, taxi drivers, daily wagers, masons, and millions of people who entirely depend on their daily wages have no income security, no sick pay and often very limited saving. What happens to them if a lockdown prevents them from working for a month or longer?
India cannot be compared to other countries of the world such as China, USA and Italy where social distancing or lockdown did not affect people’s butter and dread to that mush extent as here – India so it can result into devastating consequences for the nation. These countries are much stronger than India in their economy and have much capacity to deal with financial crisis and have very adequate health infrastructure as well.
With no doubt, the government has no other option but ultimately, as this crisis unfolds, what people are going to experience may be beyond their worst nightmares, with deaths of loved ones and an economic collapse that could dwarf the great depression. One of the primary tasks of the government in this crisis must be to ensure that people have enough money in their pockets to buy their essentials not just to make them available in the markets. This is where introducing a basic income becomes an option. Since it represents a simple, humane and administratively uncomplicated way of ensuring that everybody has enough money to get by during the crisis, why would anyone be against it?
The announcement of the Prime Minister Modi for 21-day nationwide lockdown may be a disaster for a huge number of people but it is the only remedy for a bigger calamity for the India nation. So, the people should cooperate and give a helping hand to each other in this difficult time as much as possible. India has set many examples of unity in the history for a common cause. This is the time to get united and be responsible citizen to protect not only oneself but the entire nation.
Who plays a crucial role in such scenario is police who take risk for the nation thus the people must assist them in abiding by the law and order. Police also should treat people humbly, understand their problems and trials during this lockdown.
– Mohd Faheem
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)