INTRODUCTION: COVID-19, a “once-in-a-century pandemic,” has brought the hitherto unseen portions of Indian society into sharp focus.
These groups include the migrant community, the urban homeless, members of informal settlements, biomedical waste workers, and landless agricultural laborers. The lockdown has worsened their pre-existing problems, bringing inequities, discrimination, and anxiety to the forefront.
Despite the government’s best efforts, given the current unpredictable circumstances, socioeconomic vulnerabilities and inequities are certain to emerge alongside the pandemic in a varied country like India.
Because of the loss of livelihood and lack of food, shelter, health, and other fundamental requirements, the lockdown has already disproportionately harmed underprivileged communities. Thousands of homeless people require assistance.
HOW AND WHOM DOES IT AFFECT: Due to the pandemic, millions of migratory workers were displaced, leaving them without a job, income, or even food.
Those who are unprotected suffer greater daily health hazards, such as starvation, homelessness, and the possibility of contracting more deadly diseases. A lockdown, on the other hand, has a negative impact on the large majority of people for whom this novel coronavirus poses a lower risk than more significant and immediate challenges such as hunger, domestic violence, or eviction. When ‘home’ is a room in a slum with shared bathrooms, or when lockdown refugees are transferred on buses or housed in improvised camps, there is certainly more crowding than when they are outside: it seems possible that lockdown exacerbates the virus’s spread among them.
According to the research, nearly 1.70 lakh individuals lost their jobs every hour in April 2020. The informal sector, which is still struggling, was responsible for the majority of job losses during the early months of the pandemic. According to the Oxfam analysis, 75% of the 12.2 jobs lost due to the virus came from the informal sector, where income levels are already low.
INEQUALITIES IN HEALTHCARE & EDUCATION: During the pandemic, not only have work and income inequality expanded, but so have gaps in other areas like healthcare and education.
With online education replacing physical schools, India’s poorest population now has less access to education. According to the survey, only 3% of the poorest 20% of Indian households had access to a computer, with only 9% having access to an internet connection.
According to Oxfam research, only 6% of the poorest 20% of households had access to non-shared sources of improved sanitation, compared to 93% of the country’s top 20% of households.
According to the report, disease spread swiftly among impoverished people who lived in crowded communities with poor sanitation and shared communal facilities like restrooms and water taps.Experts have previously stated that the Covid-19 pandemic has permanently harmed the country’s impoverished citizens and that only increased government expenditure can help them recover.
WEALTH CHAIN IMPACTED: Even if the lockdown is greatly eased, the crises’ consequences could endure for months. Thousands of layoffs throughout India’s enterprises will have a direct influence on job chances in the cities.
Many people who have realised they can live without a maid or who have lost their jobs, for example, may not call them back. This could have a considerable impact on the pyramid structure of wealth transfer, particularly from middle-income to lower-income groups. According to many stories, migrants were not even paid a salary for tasks completed prior to the lockout.
In comparison to a poor person’s meagre income, he loses more due to safety precautions.
CONCLUSION: Coronavirus expanded rapidly, posing significant issues for governments and organizations all around the world. Food, water, clothing, and justice are all considered basic necessities in today’s world. The active engagement of legal service authorities has ensured a flow of help from the state to the citizens. People can get critical and legal help by dialling different numbers of helplines and expressing their pain. Domestic violence is on the rise, and victims of domestic violence can contact the court system with the help of the Ministry of Women and Children.
The statewide lockdown has intensified the condition of domestic workers, in addition to the various vulnerabilities that already existed in the sector. And, if there had been a comprehensive legislative structure particularly designed to defend the interests of domestic employees, the current lockdown would have been much easier to manage. The pandemic should serve as a wake-up call to the Indian government to treat the situation with the utmost haste, regardless of the amount of time lost.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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