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India’s Lockdown: Is India Trying to Contain Corona or To Kill Millions of Indians Constituting the Base of Her Economic Pyramid?

Merwah Hamid

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Merwah Hamid

Being homeless, walking hundreds of miles owing to the lack of public transport and inability to buy food items are the gruesome impacts Modi’s sudden lock down of India has casted upon the millions of daily wagers. India being the home to 1.2 billion people and an economy of $2.9 trillion couldn’t manage to impose an effective lockdown. The strict conditions of lockdown have left the Indian working class disgruntled and have given rise to the onset of series of protests. In the present global situation owing to Covid-19, lockdown appears to be the best containment policy; however, lockdown in India is shrinking the breathing space for the poor section of the society as well. The ineffectiveness, the worrisome impacts of lockdown and the extension of lockdown in India have been explained in detailed by Vidya krishanan in her article published in The Atlantic and Rick Sanchez in his program News with Rick Sanchez, on Russian TV.

It appears quite easy to announce a sudden lockdown -without any initial groundwork- while sitting in a state mansion with an army of servicemen at your disposal for the impact of such lockdown can only be felt by the people at the bottom of the hierarchical pyramid of economy. In the start, instead of acting proactively against this pandemic, Indian government opted to close its eyes and kept itself busy in victimizing Indian Muslims protesting against the discriminatory citizenship law. Moreover, Indian PM didn’t give a chance to public to prepare itself for a lockdown; he rather surprised his 1.3 billion fellowmen by imposing a lockdown within a few hours of his 24th March speech.

“The government is offering little in the way of a safety net. Its $22 billion value is a pitiful amount compared with what governments elsewhere have provided: Whereas governments in Britain, Spain, and Germany have offered stimulus plans of up to 20 percent of GDP, India’s amounts to less than 1 percent of its GDP.” (Vidya Krishnan)

Vidya Krishanan, in her article entitled as The Callousness of India’s Covid-19 Response, published in The Atlantic, has written in detail about the response of BJP government towards Covid-19. She states that in India, first case of Corona was reported on 30th January 2020, however, India kept on showing callousness towards the gravity of the impending threat and it took Indian government somewhat eight weeks to respond. Furthermore, in its response towards Covid-19, Indian government appears to have forgotten about millions of it daily wagers. She also writes that PM Modi delivered a speech at 8:00 PM on 24th of March and lockdown was imposed after the midnight- within few hours. This lockdown differed from the usual lockdown pattern as no grocery store and no pharmacy was opened which come under the list of essential items. While criticizing the Indian government’s ineffective efforts towards addressing the woes of the lower section of the society Vidya states, “The government is offering little in the way of a safety net. Its $22 billion value is a pitiful amount compared with what governments elsewhere have provided: Whereas governments in Britain, Spain, and Germany have offered stimulus plans of up to 20 percent of GDP, India’s amounts to less than 1 percent of its GDP. It provides no help for day laborers or other workers in similar unorganized sectors. It contains no measures for migrant workers. The actual amounts of support—five kilograms of rice or wheat, and one kilogram of legumes, per person for the next three months, coupled with cash transfers, in some cases of 500 rupees, or $7, a month—have infuriated voters.”

Moreover, on the pretext of Coronavirus, saffron faction of India has gotten another chance to fuel the fire of xenophobia against the Muslims residing there. Using the name of Tableeghi Jamaat as the only cause of Corona virus in India, the anti-Muslim forces in India are involved in targeting Muslims. According to Vidya Krishnan, “Another video shows police waiting outside a mosque in the southern state of Karnataka, beating worshippers with a stick as they leave.”

Not only this, the Indian government has extended the lockdown on 14th April for another three weeks -till 3rd May. In the wake of more than 12 thousand cases of Corona virus and around 400 deaths owing to Corona virus, Indian government has extended the lockdown to save people from dying because of Covid-19; without thinking about the 400 million at the verge of dying from hunger, homelessness and unemployment. In the prime time program, News With Rick Sanchez on Russian TV (RT), the host R.Sanchez and the RT correspondent Michele Greenstein explained about the lockdown in India and the problem that lockdown has caused which made many to reside into refugee camps instead of going back to their villages owing to the transport problem. In addition to this, the risk of Corona virus in the refugee camps was also discussed in the program.

Conclusively, it appears that Indian government is in a dire need of reviewing its policy towards the containment Corona virus. It is the responsibility PM Modi to own his people, to stand by his people and to not leave his people alone in this fight against Covid-19. The time demands Indian government to act in a prudent and a practical way or else the flood of protestors will break all the barriers and might open the gates for the massive outbreak Coronavirus.

 

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