Covid-19 erupted in December of 2019 in Wuhan, China but went on to wreak havoc throughout the world. It infected in millions and killed in thousands. Panic and chaos spread across and all the countries started shutting down; Wuhan was the first city, Italy became the first European country, and India followed.
On 25th March, PM Modi declared for the entire country to go on a lockdown. This was primarily to be followed for 21 days period but then was extended up until the 3rd of May, 2020. The government released information for the provision of essential items, reassurance for the same followed.
Police, hospitals, hotels and motels lodging stranded tourists and public utility suppliers (gas, electricity and water providers) were still under operation to make the day to day survival of each possible.
The government recognized that the poor of the country needed special aid and support to survive this lockdown, thus, funds were introduced and the citizens were asked to donate and contribute to it to make extra provisions for the needy. The regular citizens got government approvals, collaborated with the police and NGOs and did their bit in donating food and clothing. Public shelters were made for the homeless ones.
But for a country with 8.8% of its people below poverty line and 450+ million workers working on a daily wage, all these measures turned out to be inadequate. The poor families approximately save about Rs. 1487 per month. This money is generally used in repaying old debts but after the continuous lockdown, these families are now under new debts, having simpler and less frequent meals and void of cash and liquid assets. The marginalized section, the sex workers suffer too. They earn about Rs. 100 to 800 from each client and see about 4-5 clients each day. They support themselves and usually their children with this money. Payment of rent of the brothels they live and work in has become a cause of worry for them.
The Government can do more for those who are suffering the most. Instead of only providing grains, they can be provided with a richer diet including eggs and meat. There can be an observation of better planning and coordination between the state and the Centre, funds can be combined, decentralization can be done and the poor can be safeguarded better. There is a lack of funds in India as compared to other nations; steps must be taken to raise more money. Introduction and implantation of the lockdown was also very impulsive and ill planned.
The Government must understand that not all sections of the society are equipped to survive the lockdown, there is a dire need to save the underprivileged, not just from corona but from one of the biggest evils which has long existed-poverty.