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It was November 2019, an unidentified virus was tracked in the city of Wuhan, China. And then a bulletin notified us of the first death from this virus. China under attack by an invisible force which soon became the face of the entire planet. Name any country, US, England, Brazil, Russia, India. Today when I am writing this article, India had just crossed the mark of 65,000 cases from this virus called CoronaVirus(COVID 19). India is in the list of  top15 the worst affected states from coronavirus. source: world meter https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

  March 2020, when coronavirus, was on the rise, the government came up with the strategy to lock down its 1.31 billion population at their houses. It was started with one day voluntary Janta curfew (23 March), followed by 3 weeks lockdown till April 12 which again extend till 3 May. And again the orders reiterated (say something again) for two additional weeks lockdown till May 17.  And now there are speculations that government is on a mood to confine her residents, to their homes till May end or perhaps mid-June. Currently, the economy is in ruins, with the majority of economic activities on halt. Some relaxations have been granted recently in green zones (where no corona cases trace) and orange zone (the area which does not fall under green or red zone areas) and very limited relaxations to red zones (the area which has reported massive corona cases).  During these 40 days lockdown, we had faced a  massive loss of 25 lakh crore rupees. Poor and lower-middle-class which constitutes the major portion of the country’s population are the worst affected social classes. Now here we have a question ” is lock-down helping India fighting against coronavirus?”

Currently, there is no definite vaccine or treatment for the disease. As the researches are still going on, social distancing and hand wash are the only ways to halt the spread of the virus. The government claims, everything is in control. Yet, no case of community transmission cases in India so far.  Also, the international community had commended (praised) Indian efforts for tackling coronavirus. Corresponding to our population size our health sector is pathetically underdeveloped. We can’t afford the outburst of disease. Ergo (thereforeLockdown, the minimum movement of people are the available solution. Also, countries like Vietnam had successfully tackled coronavirus using the approach of strict lockdown. Efforts are made by society as a whole to aware of its citizen about the importance of lockdown and dangers of coronavirus. Currently who is denying the government’s lockdown guidelines are being publically humiliated, criticized by media followed with strict legal actions. Yet still, we have an unanswered question: is lockdown supporting Indian struggle against coronavirus,  because of one side of a coin is still uncovered, behind the curtains of ignorance. Now, let’s have a look at the alternate side of a coin. Why lockdown is not helping in the Indian approach?

 WHY LOCKDOWN NOT HELPING INDIA?

40 days lockdown in India has successfully frozen the Indian economy, which prior was squeezed by the economic slowdown, bipolar stock market, and a sassy (rude) budget for 2020-21. The loss of output has cost India about 15 lakh crore rupees with a significant portion of cost unaccounted, coming from the unorganized sector. Poor and lower-middle-class, who contribute significantly to the Indian workforce, are currently in the clutches of unemployment, exhausting their long saved saving for affording their survival during the lockdown. Yes, the government had poured some relaxations in platters (large plates)  of countrymen, but the demand for their job or skill has dwindled. As a result, the nation is appalled by the exodus of laborers back to their hometowns. We have the plethora of stories regarding workers from Mumbai or Delhi traveling back to Uttar Pradesh or Bihar, cause they can’t afford metropolitan lives anymore.

GDP growth may be negative for 2020-21, the catastrophic(harmful) period for poor people, and small businesses. In job markets, we are witnessing the growing unemployment, 14 crores already jobless. Whereas as per the data by Centre for Monitoring India Economy (C.M.I.E.) COVID19 lead to a spike in the country’s unemployment rate to 27.11% for a week ended May 3, urban areas infested by a syndrome called unemployment. Government, even the Prime Minister had urged the employers “to be kind”, but the government has done nothing- as many countries have – reimburse or in some way assist companies in keeping employees paid, even if partially. Nothing has been heard from a special economic task force since Modi announced it on March 19. Similarly, small shopkeepers are currently in trauma. As the business activities are stabbed by restrictions and probations. Take an example of confectionery stores, they are finding it hard to sell their self-made sweets in given relaxation hours. Due to exodus, industries are now facing the problem of manpower. With limited resources, the production is itself a challenge, with no one to take care of machines. We are facing a horrendous (shocking) industrial accident like Vaizak leakage incidence, which culminates (produced as a result) the reminiscent (memories) of Bhopal Gas Tragedy, costing 11 lives and effecting nearly 5000 lives, and poisonous cancer-causing gas confiscating 3 km radii. Isn’t it a lockdown that should be blamed?
And now we are facing a new problem of the reverse trend, approximately 1,00,000 migrants had applied back, to their respective workplaces in Harayana from their home states, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar respectively. Won’t such massive movement contribute making India susceptible (easily to get effected) to COVID19?  For example, in the states like Himachal Pradesh, the homecoming immigrants are becoming a new source of coronavirus at a point where the state was on a way to obliterate (eradicating) the COVID19 from the state. This is because of the unresponsive muddled evacuation policy by the state authorities, highlighted by media in recent days.

Ironically, the government is reiterating herself claiming that everything is in control, is it so? The curiosity for this question arises because we have just crossed the number 65,000. India had one of the lowest testing ratios in the world. As the experts and agencies have predicted the spike of corona cases in India during June and July, so how far will lockdown go?  State governments complaining about the insufficient supply of Personal Protection Equipments. And one more thing to point out we had given too much thrust to lockdown, that we forget why lockdown?

Lockdown will buy us only time, but testing, testing, and myriad (excess in number) testing, identification, and proper monitoring of suspected cases and their lockdown, screening of migrants is the need of the hour. Countries like Japan and South Korea had scored the victory against coronavirus using this approach. Some experts argued that the cases are negligible corresponding to her massive population. But we need to understand that COVID19 is a communicable disease, therefore countries with high population-density rate are more prone to it. Countries with higher density rates like Singapore (7894), Taiwan (652), South Korea (517), Japan(333), Israel (417), Honk Kong(6782) are doing much better than other state governments.

As Delhi CM Kejriwal had quoted, ” Have to learn to live with Coronavirus.” The time has come to provide the economy with a resilient (flexible) relaxation, More comprehensive decisions. needed to taken prudently with rationale implementation. Contrary to the earlier claims, one of which said there would be no new cases by May 16. what are we seeing is cases increasing at a linear pace commented by the director of India’s premier medical institution, Delhi’s AIIMS, Randeep Guleria. The major problem right now is we are not seeing a declining trend. (as in China or Italy). Certainly, we are doing something very wrong. Testing, Testing, and Testing should be the new area to be focused on. More efforts needed in the testing field. Moreover, the safety of corona warriors at the same time shouldn’t be compromised with the proper check on the misuse of power by authorities. Innovative or world-famous Indian Jugaads needed to be implemented to tackle the pandemic, followed by a positive attitude. We organize elections on such a large scale. Polio drops outreach to every child in India, We have a well-established ground network of gram panchayats and ULBs. If used optimally, this ground network can be prooved our mightiest weapon against COVID19.

references
https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/view-why-spike-in-cases-actually-shows-india-must-unlock/articleshow/75603382.cms?from=mdr
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COVID-19_pandemic_lockdown_in_India
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/india/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_and_dependencies_by_population_density
https://scroll.in/article/961418/smoke-mirrors-and-modi-a-grand-illusion-of-governance
https://www.thehindu.com/business/indias-unemployment-rate-rises-to-2711-amid-covid-19-crisis-cmie/article3


Colonel M.M Nehru

Col. MM Nehru, Director at NFA, is a Personality Developer. He is an experienced trainer and has orchestrated numerous sessions around leadership, time management and personal effectiveness for corporate clientele. He holds a master’s degree (PGDM) in Defence Studies and Business Administration and was an Arts Graduate. If you want to know more about Colonel Nehru Click Here

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