LIFE UNDER LOCKDOWN AND AFTER THAT: ARE EFFORTS OF THE GOVERNMENT ENOUGH?

image description

 LIFE UNDER LOCKDOWN AND AFTER THAT: ARE EFFORTS OF THE GOVERNMENT ENOUGH? 

On 24th March 2020, the Hon’ble Prime Minister announced nationwide lockdown in order to combat the dreadful Coronavirus. Further, it was extended from each 15- 20 days till the end of the Fourth Phase of lockdown on 31st May 2020. Of the 28 States and 8 Union Territories, the worst affected are Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.

During this period all the efforts were made to overcome this problem- from singing “Go Corona Go”, to clapping hands and thali peetna, to lighting diyas and lamps invoking mythological and religious beliefs to solve this problem and going Aatma Nirbhar. Alas! Nothing worked as expected. Nor did the cases decreased nor did the medical kits reached on time nor did the doctors got protection and remuneration for their services nor did the vaccines arrived and nor did the economy showed any signs of improvement. 

Under the Constitutional law Health comes under the State List in the 7th Schedule which means that it is the responsibility of the States to deal, plan and provide with resources relating to health. So why question the Central Government? Well because this issue has affected nation all over it becomes the duty of the Hon’ble Prime Minister and Central Government to provide assistance and come to their rescue. Thus major decisions and policies were laid down by the Central Government. 

One of the policy is the PM-CARES Fund- Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund) where donations asked for which will be used from people to help fight this problem for combating, containment and relief efforts against the coronavirus outbreak and similar pandemic like situations in the future. As per the official data the amount collected so far as Rs. 3,100 cr. On when and how the distribution of such funds will take place, will be narrated by the Hon’ble Finance Minister. Interestingly no reason was given why this new policy when there already exists PM National Relief Fund whose objectives could be extended to deal with a current and similar situation in future and to avoid confusion among the people. Guess it was important to point show the written and recorded efforts undertaken by the government to deal with the situation.  

Another decision taken was the deferment, not waiving off, payment of loan amount on housing, car, education, personal loans for 3 months. Also came the decision of not collecting rent for three months and collect the same after 3 months. Question arises with every business affected, people losing their jobs, 20% to 50% cut in salaries, notices given by employers explaining their difficulty of not able to provide salary and everything coming to standstill from where will the money be generated to pay the previous 3 months plus the present month’s rent and loan amount along with interest? 

Another step coining of word- “Aatma Nirbhar” along with “Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ which literal meaning is self-reliance and self-dependent. It is a package that will help India in reviving the economy focus on land, labour, liquidity and laws and will benefit farmers, workers, taxpayers, MSMEs and cottage industry. It means a movement from Made in India from Made by India, which would mean that global companies in India do not make the product, but from scratch to the finish it will be locally made and delivered. The question arises with economic crisis and recession creeping in, is India in a position to rely on itself and go local? 

The most affected people due to this crisis are the Migrants. The plight of the migrants is no secret to anyone. Every news channels, papers and social media are flooded with the stories of the disturbing images of the migrants. In the month of April- May when the heat is at its peak, people of different age groups and gender walked miles along with their belongings and money to reach their native home. When somehow they reach their native place, at the border they are made to sit and chemical solutions are sprayed on them. Many deaths have been reported- people dying of hunger, committing suicide as no money to feed and being in a helpless state. When the reports started flooding in it was then the government started the “Shramik Special Trains” to help workers, pilgrims, tourists, students and other persons stranded at different places in the country amid lockdown to reach their respective destinations. This help came with a monetary price in the form of the ticket which the migrants had to pay. This is because the Central government denied to pay and stated it is the responsibility of either the originating or the receiving State governments to pay for the charges. Further, the receiving States were not ready to pay nor take these people fearing the possibility of them being carriers of the virus. Thankfully the Honb’le Supreme Court came in as saviour of the migrants by stating that no money should be charged from the migrants for the ticket fare- railways or bus. 

The scenario around is not good. The help is coming late and in bits and pieces added with tons of confusion. The economy is going down, people are thrown out of their jobs, salaries are not paid, commercial and public sectors are undergoing great loss, no job security of people and daily wage labourers, rate of unemployment is increasing, no certainty about the schedule of college and competitive examinations, poor health securities of the doctors, nurses and police, opening of liquor shops when slogans are raised to ban liquor, raising of funds which makes one question where and how is the taxpayer’s money allocated and why is it insufficient to meet such crisis? With the rising number of cases and deaths around each day, the problems, anxiety and frustration levels of people are increasing. These do raise doubts and allow us to question the policies and promises laid down by the government. 

Agreed with the fact that the whole world is facing this problem which is new to everyone and no one, in particular, is to be blamed for it. But what matters is how such a situation is handled and dealt with and this shows how true is the leader in real sense. One cannot deny that the lack of foresight showed the insensitiveness towards the human by the authorities. Not only human rights but even constitutional rights went for a toss. 

When the country is facing the game of hide and seek from the dreadful coronavirus, the political parties too have engaged themselves in game of cards such as blame-game, laying of cards, drawing of cards, game of bluff, rummy, blackjack, donkey-donkey, teen patti you name it! What they fail to realize is that this is no time to play these games. It is time that they come together and work as a team to help people and safe them from a game of hide and seek.