With social distancing the only visible solution for one and all, India’s Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi announced a country wide lockdown till 14th April, 2020. The initiative is taken to save the countrymen from the Wuhan originated pandemic coronavirus COVID-19 which has taken grip over seven lakh people world-wide including head of the states to the common masses. The Prime Minister also announced that a special COVID-19 economic task force would be working for all the sectors to have a positive impact on the pandemic.This task force will be led by The Union Finance & Corporate Affairs Minister Smt. Niramla Sitharaman.The outbreak attacked the people working in the unorganised sector where millions of migrant labourers are spread across the country solely dependent on daily wages. The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s is actively taking a watch throughout the country with regular meetings at centre and state level through different means.The Union Finance Minister led task force announced Rs 1.70 Lakh Crore relief package called “ Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana” on 26th March, 2020 which almost covers each and every effected section of the society from farmers to low wage earners,senior citizens,widows and Organised sector among others.The relief package includes both cash transfer and food security.The package includes an insurance scheme for health workers who are fighting with the pandemic in government health centres at centre and state level.The scheme covers the whole health workers team from doctors to the accredited social health activist(ASHA)workers and ward-boys.An amount of Rs 50 lakh will be provided to health professionals,if he or she meets any accident while treating COVID-19 patients. As the lockdown have affected the daily wage labourers the most,this scheme will work as a big aid to the poor migrant families,on the whole the scheme will cover 80 crore individuals.The government of India will provide free of cost 1kg pulses for the next three months to ensure adequate availability of protein.
With famers in the priority list of the Modi Government,around 8.7 crore farmers will receive an instalment of Rs 2,000 in April,2020 under the PM KISAN Yojanaa. A total of 20.40 crores Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) women account-holders will be given an ex-gratia of Rs 500 per month for next three months.Goverment will also reach some 8 crore families to arrange free of cost gas cylinders.
To help low wage earners in organised sectors the government will pay a percent of their monthly wages into their Provident Fund accounts for next three months. Rs 1,000
will be provided to 3 crore aged widows and people in the Divyang category. Around 13.62 crore families will be benefited by the increase of Rs 20 in Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee ACT (MNREGA) wages which will come into effect from April,2020 onwards.Big announcements were also made for self help groups and organised sector,for the building and construction workers,the central government will give directions to the state government to utilise the “Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Fund” to provide assistance and support to these workers to protect them against economic disruptions.With the consequences being visible within few hours of the lockdown – in order to provide immediate relief the State Government will be asked to utilise the funds available under District Mineral Fund (DMF) for supplementing and augmenting facilities of medical testing,screening and other requirements in connection with preventing the spread of COVID-19 pandemic as well as treating the patients affected with this pandemic.The finance minister said the package will help people in overcoming the hardships they may face due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus in India.Today’s measures are intended at reaching out to the poorest of the poor,with food and money in hands,so that they do not face difficulties in buying essential supplies and meeting essential needs.
While it will be too early to comment or estimate the economic cost which the country has to pay due to COVID-19.At present we can only speculate the risk and the spread of the virus.The coming weeks are crucial for the country,the central and the state governments are doing whatever possible in this time of crisis.Even the executive director of the World Health Organisation Michael Ryan said, “India which is the world’s second most populous country,has a tremendous capacity to deal with the coronavirus outbreak as it has the experience of eradicating the small-pox and polio through targeted public intervention”.So, the only means by which we can contribute to the nation at present is by social-distancing and self-isolation.
Writer–Nikhil Yadav is a State Youth Head at Vivekananda Kendra ,Uttar Prant .He obtained his Masters in History from the University Of Delhi and is pursuing COP in Vedic Culture from Jawaharlal Nehru University.