The world is suffering due to covid-19 pandemic. Since it started showing rage early this year, people have been finding ways to protect themselves from this deadly disease. In the attempt to save lives, several countries announced a complete lockdown period and India was no less! From offices to shopping malls to transportation, everything was shut for almost 6 months. And now that the lockdown is 80% lifted, we see an even scarier picture of human survival.
The scary story
People have not only lost their jobs during the lockdown, but they are also running out of their savings. They are mortgaging their gold, property and other valuables in exchange for loans. Many people are working as daily wage laborers even after being a graduate or so. Not only that, many mediocre families are living on charities and government support to eat a half day or sometimes getting full meals also. The situation is indeed scary!
What urban Mumbai families are saying?
Bilal khan, an activist for the slum dwellers said, “People who had proper jobs have been without work for months. Some of them have no choice but to borrow from private lenders when they fail to get bank loans.” On the other hand, Vanita Pawar, a domestic worker who lost her husband six years ago said, “I have not been able to pay the electricity bill for six months. I have not been able to make the Rs. 5,000 monthly repayment towards the loan. I get calls from everyone asking for their dues but I tell them where I am supposed to get it from. People like us need to be accommodated a little longer until we get some work.”
The situation thereafter
Mumbai university professor of economics Abhay Pethe chalked a solution to the current scenario. He said, “There should be a cash transfer to the most vulnerable. Maharashtra has enough headroom to borrow…Red flags come up when debt servicing goes above a certain percentage of revenue inflows. We have not reached that yet. We have about 7-8 percent to go. But we have to be bold about it. We can’t just wait for the Central government’s schemes and aid packages.” Like this, the common people must come forward to tackle the situation rather than relying on governing bodies to do the same.
The PolicyTimes suggestion
- The government announced a lockdown to save human lives. Now, they must also come with solutions to restore jobs that are gone, businesses that are running on losses, and human lives that are suffering.
- The ones who are cutting employees citing reasons that they do not have enough business to continue with them must not do that. Instead, they can at least keep them on a low salary and assure them that they will get their due salaries once the business is set on track again.
- The common people must also find ways to deal with this situation. They must shift their jobs, business, and learn new stuff to keep the work going so that they do not have to stick to only one way of income. The women in the house, who are not working, must also try to lend their hand in supporting the family financially.