The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of the Indian Lockdown.
Amidst the flood of memes, categorizing homes as “Nasha Mukti Kendras” and people counting syllables and words in different songs just to pass their time during this period of lockdown, what the country has undertaken is entirely unprecedented in nature.
To bring things into perspective, of the 5 wars that Indian has been part of (‘48, 62, 65, 71, and 99), never ever were the Railways brought to a halt. An entire nation of 1.3 billion people has been brought to a standstill.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, they say.
Let’s have a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of it:
Indian Lockdown : A Timely Endeavour
Indian healthcare ranking is 112, Italy ranks 110 places above us at 2, India’s high population density has made it more prone to the Covid-19 virus sweeping across the globe. With 863 positive cases so far and 20 casualties, Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered 1.3 billion residents to stay home to keep India from sliding into a disaster that could dwarf what China,Italy,Spain and the United States have faced.
The scope and scale of India’s lockdown is quite similar to that of China’s. In stark comparison, both Italy and Spain only gradually curtailed public life. Restrictions on what residents were allowed to do became stringent over time in both the countries.
According to epidemiological experts, the fact that Italy didn’t enforce a stringent lockdown and chose to increase restrictions gradually, led to large-scale community transmission.
Global Lockdown : An Increasing Response to Covid-19
In one country after the other, lockdowns have emerged as the key response against the coronavirus pandemic. There are, however, significant differences between lockdowns across the countries, and these variations have an impact on a nation’s ability to contain the spread of Covid-19 and reduce fatalities.
These lockdowns can be differentiated based on three key characteristics: time of enforcement, scale and scope, and for how long the lockdown remains in place.
Largest Single Lockdown in the World History :
The lockdown in India, the largest such exercise in the world, may not be enough to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus in the country, former Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan has said.
“This is a serious concern because not only does the lockdown keep people from going to work, it keeps them at home which is not necessarily that pristine isolated place, but can also be a slum where people live together,” Rajan said in an interview with Bloomberg.
Hardships of Lockdown : The Working Class of India
“It may be hard to prevent infections from spreading,” Raghuram Rajan added, saying the lockdown will create substantial hardship for the poorer sections of the society.
The state-ordered 21-day lockdown has paralysed virtually all commerce in the country and has put millions of people out of work, leaving many struggling with basic requirements like food and medicines.
The mass Exodus of workers, labourers and day-wage farm-hands is a disaster in making with little or no support from administration and the populace.
An Economist’s Perspective on the Remedying of the Lockdown
Raghuram Rajan also cited the country’s weak infrastructure as a hindrance to the government’s Covid fight, saying all resources need to be used to tackle the current health crisis.
Getting money to people without livelihoods so they have money to spend, getting food into such areas and keeping public services running would be some of the biggest challenges India faces in the next three weeks.
Government on the Lockdown : Steps and Measures
India, in its fight against the coronavirus, has opted to enforce the harshest but among the most effective forms of nationwide lockdown.
Since the lockdown has been put in place, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has taken a slew of measures to ease the burden of the citizens, and to make sure no one is left behind in India’s Corona fight.
Delivery of essential items via e-commerce continued to face challenges on the second day of the 21-day lockdown, with the industry urging government for uniform classification of essential items across various states.
While the government has allowed delivery of all essential goods including food, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment through e-commerce, online platforms like Amazon India, Grofers, bigbasket and Milkbasket have been facing disruptions in delivery to their customers.
Aftermath of the Lockdown :
China, the epicenter of the coronavirus, implemented the harshest form of lockdown in Wuhan after nearly 30 deaths had occurred. In about two months, China has managed to bring down the number of daily new cases to single digits.
In contrast, Italy — the new epicenter — implemented a gradual and less stringent nationwide lockdown that began only after 800 deaths. As a consequence, Italy is nowhere close to China when it comes to bringing the outbreak under control.
Similar to China, India also implemented a full-scale lockdown, but at a much earlier stage of the outbreak — immediately after 10 deaths.
We could only hope for the best with the preventive measures that it’ll contain the Pandemic and things would be in the normal course of hustle-bustle.
By: Priyanshu Singh and Yashdeep Bajpai