India’s lockdown halted the livelihood of the citizens to control the spread of the pandemic. But, is the PM completely aware of the dire consequences? Further, the relief measure just brushes over the tip of the iceberg.
Lockdown Affects a Large Chunk of Indian Population
The Daily Wagers
The lockdown severely affects the daily wagers. In cases like labourers, cab drivers, auto-rickshaw drivers, security guards, shoe polishers, and so on work for the day and receive a payment for the day. And, due to the halt, they have no work and hence no money for the day. In such cases, these people will run out of commodities in a few days.
Working Population of the Informal Sectors
Another set of the population affected is the ones hired by the informal sector. In cases like street vendors, garbage collectors, waiters, etc are given unpaid leaves. In worst scenarios, they will face termination without a penny. Even though they have supportable savings, it is highly limited. Additionally, they will not have access to pensions, sick leave pays or any kind of insurances. Thus, their sustainability through this lockdown period is a question.
Despite their high held values, the corporates working in multinational companies will also face the wrath of the lockdown. Meanwhile, they will also experience recession and economic shortfall. At the dawn of lockdown, many have been asked to work from home. However, their fate is still ambiguous.
Migrant workers, floating population, uber drivers, workers relying on tourism, street entrepreneurs, and mostly every sector unfavorably faces the effects of lockdown.
Will India Feed 1.3 Poor People Under Lockdown?
With the current rate, India will face food security problems. With over 1.3 million to feed and the intensity of the pandemic effect growing, it is time to strategize and handle the misery. Accordingly, the government must open community kitchens for the people in need. Simultaneously, it must organize the delivery of food. Also, it can give access to necessary ingredients such as rice or wheat. Further, to aid the below poverty line citizens initiate direct cash transfer. In this regard, UP’s CM, Yogi Adityanath has appointed a group of people that track the individuals in need.
No Plan to Help Small Businesses
Indian small businesses will fail to survive if the government does not give financial aid for its existence. Even though India acted well by advising homestay to prevent the spread of COVID 19. However, it fails to announce necessary relief measures like budgetary assistance and interest rate cuts. Further, SMEs employing over 100 million people, they are in dire need of financial relief and uninterrupted credit flow. Also, to manage the crisis, the government could invest money rather than sending it in. Additionally, SBI will open a credit facility to aid small businesses that are hurt due to the coronavirus lockdown. Also, RBI announces three measures to tackle the fiscal pressure in local as well as the international market. This is a right step forward, however, a large number of such initiatives are necessary to stabilize the businesses.
Measures Announced by Other Countries
- Tax relaxation– As the pandemic is an economic shock, the government offers to put off tax until decreasing the impact of the pandemic. Further, this is also because the health care costs are high and thus, citizens need this extension.
- Over 35 countries including UK, US, Austria, Australia, provide a variety of tax reliefs depends on the need of its citizens.
- The UK offers a variety of loans, grafts, and fiscal support to business.
- Additionally, the UK also offers Coronavirus job retention scheme and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.
- Justin Trudeau, PM of Canada recently announced new employment insurances and aid business by financing. Accordingly, he said that the government will release $27 billion for Canadians to aid businesses in this difficult time.
Are the Indian Relief Measure Enough?
PM’s economic response task force was not a success as it aids in the destruction of the overseas supply chain. Further, due to the movement restriction, it harms the local production. On the contrary, RBI’s 50 basis point reduction to facilitate liquidity and cheaper cash is a positive step. Similarly, a central rate reduction on debt is necessary to avoid the economic crisis. Also, the tax returns filing extension is a good step to reduce the fiscal burden of the citizens.
The Indian government is taking necessary actions. However, considering the population, the intensity of relief measure is not sufficient. Even though the center announces relief measures periodically, the changes in the state are also rising simultaneously. So, it is necessary to take quick action and prevent the spread.