“You cannot have a democracy where majority of the population has been left to fend for themselves”
Indian economy was apparently going towards the $5trillion mark and was doing well. Now when we see, the country cannot even feed and transfer the poor or below poverty line people. There are about 26% BPL people and the government can’t even feed them with the money the people have contributed for the PM Cares fund or all the other funds which have been made in the name of relief fund. Corporates have donated a huge chunk of money to the government and this is making headlines. And the major stint after this was to deduct every government employee’s salary. After this, there are various people who have donated small amounts into this fund. The question is that there is a large amount of fund, where is it going? To feed the people in power?
The food which is being received by some of the lower sections includes a simple lentil dish and a roti. This isn’t a meal that is bought from any five-star restaurant, this is a basic meal which costs about Rs2 or Rs3 per head. And guess what? This is also not received by all. The pain of being separated from homes and having no food in the eyes of the migrant workers show that this isn’t how the situation should be.
Since the start of this pandemic, Indian economy has been on the verge of falling into a dark hole. There haven’t been many positives associated with it. It has been about 44 days since the lockdown, there have been multiple instances where people have been left with no choice but to fend for themselves. If this is the situation in the forty days, are we really going to believe that the next 14 days will be any different? Rather they will be more disastrous and painful for those who have no assistance. In our previous articles, we have written about what the last 40 days did. People died of hunger, of communalism and of having no shelter. Is this what the ‘great India’ is?
Do we really believe that the country will do well in these next 14 days? For the people who don’t have a roof over their head, it’ll be likes times of despair with no help. They’ll be on the footpaths, being lathi charged of being there and having no food in their stomachs. If the richest man of India, Ambani can actually cut his employees’ salaries in the name of a pandemic, we all know how bad the situation is and how worse it can go in the next few days. All this might seem very blank right now but if we actually analyse it, it seems true. We are heading towards a black side of this dream.
Let us talk about a few sectors that contributes a lot to the GDP but now are badly hit by the lockdown. These sectors, if not given due importance and care will sink and not come back up.
The Indian railways, the major source of revenue for the government, earned roughly Rs4500 crore in April 2019, now if we look at April 2020 and May 2020, there seems to be zero revenue and more expenses. The railways will give salaries to the people, ship food and essentials form one place to another but not earn a single penny. This is where we actually realise the down sights of this lockdown. Industries are told to stop their operations but still incur the expenses. Employees are to be paid, rent is to be stopped from the landlords and bills are also to be paid. Where will the economy go? It surely takes two to tango but here we are just falling and falling into misery. The railway sector won’t see any boom in the near future too because the people would not travel much. So the revenue would dwindle down further. Reports are that migrant workers in Bhopal have been asked to pay for their train tickets to reach home. This is the audacity. What about the money donated by us for the welfare of the people during this time? Where is the PM Cares and CM Cares being used?
And it’s not just about the railways, it is also about the Metro which connects the smaller part is a city. The Delhi metro as a whole earns crores of rupees in a month which has been shut since a long time in almost all the cities. This has further led to the chain reaction as found out in the case of railways. If the main revenue segment is dying, will we die too?
Rs8.3 crores is spent for shooting every episode of the PMs new show, ‘mannkibaat’. There have been 4 episodes since the onset of the pandemic. Helicopters and planes were bought in Marchby the PM. The government of Maharashtra was set up in march and the Delhi Central Vista Project is being processed for the beautification of the capital. All this is being done during times when people are dying of hunger. L&T has paid Rs 150 crores to the PM Cares fund but isn’t paying wages to its employees. Out of the 200 countries affected by the virus, only our government has asked us to donate the money. Now that there seems to be a lot of money with the government, will it be able to sustain us? Or will the people die out of hunger, lack of employment and exhaustion before the virus kills them.
Luxuries are being met but not the necessities?
The alcohol takes up major chunk in a state’s revenue. There seems to be a stoppage of sale of alcohol. There have been many conflicts between various states for the same when they have actually raised questions that the government is actually defeating the basic revenue generating sources for all the states. The states are also used to earning money through petrol but since there has been a lockdown, people aren’t driving and going here and there. Oil refineries are crashing, petrol pumps are being shut. There seems to be no stop to this never-ending chain of events. Police has been caught selling alcohol. People who have been given the status of national guardians are behaving like this.
Further, talking about the hospitality and tourism sector there have been a huge decline in its growth, occupancy rates of hotel rooms have came down to 60%. The average room rent has been decreased to 58-64% and most of the summer vacation bookings have already been cancelled because of the lockdown, not only this but people associated and employed in the tourism and hospitality sector are losing their jobs because the industry have not been generated any revenue since January. Even after the coronavirus crisis gets over it will take almost 10 months for the tourism and hospitality sector to recover and come to a normal, because even after this crisis gets over people will hesitate travelling.
The coronavirus outbreak has not only affected these industries, but it has created a drastic effect on the three sectors of the economy, agriculture sector or the primary sector has 75% of its share in the growth of the economy as the basic raw material for production is grown and produced through the agriculture, now after the complete lockdown in the country the production process has become slow and almost non-existent as all the three sectors of the economy are interconnected with each other, due to lack of labourers and transportation facilities the existing crops grown by the farmers are deteriorate. A farmer contributes the most to the GDP a large amount of industrial and transportation activity is dependent upon the agriculture in our country.The farmers feed themselves and their family from the money they get after selling the crops. Now after the lack of resources they don’t even have this option, how will they now feed their families, will they be able to fulfil their basic needs?
The situation is getting worse:
India has been facing a decline in GDP, recession, economic slowdown, inflation since 2019 because of the constant decline in the growth of various sectors and all of this just kept piling up and when we entered 2020 the economy of India didn’t get a chance to recover because of the lockdown due to the pandemic. It has been 40 days since the whole country is in a lockdown mode, and undoubtedly the economy of our country have entered in the stage of coma, where the entire occupational structure is adversely affected as the three sectors have been failed to reach at their highest potential, no means of globalization and industrialization.
All this chaos happened in the 40 days of lockdown which was imposed to control the spread of the coronavirus but this has resulted in absolutely nothing, no control over the coronavirus cases. There has not been a single day after the lockdown when the cases of coronavirus came into control or have not been increased. Rather the cases have now jumped over 50,000. The lockdown has staggered the economic fabric of the country completely in these 40 days. Now this lockdown has been extended to more 14 days, what these 14 days will change that 40 days couldn’t?
The situation will get more worse in these 14 days as it will bring the Indian economy to a level where the Indian government will have to struggle each day with food and medical supply without any revenue-generating sources. Rise in the unemployment by 50-60% in all the sectors, hunger in the country because of the low level of production. People have already become frustrated and anxious as they are forced to stay inside their houses and now the hunger and the impatience will led them towards doing unethical things and crime.
This series of lockdown is heading towards a stage from where the recovery is very slow and difficult because after all this gets over people will be unemployed, depressed and suppressed that they will agree doing the occupational work which is below their professional skills just for the sake of the survival and money, for example- few days ago only we have published a story of a jeweller who became a vegetable vendor to survive the lockdown. The situation is moving towards the stage where the people are in a dilemma of their health v/s hunger and poverty, where if they stay inside hunger and poverty will kill them and if they move outside virus will kill them, and at last the patience of people will break and they will do whatever is required to do for saving themselves and their family dying from hunger.
Soon we will be like walking corpses in a country full of criminals. Having no resort to go to, people will come on the streets and start stealing money, killing people and doing all that we have never thought about. The crime rate right now is 80% less than before but it seems that therewill be a tenfold increase after the lockdown. Lockdown 3.0 is a nightmare which will unfold itself slowly with deep impacts on the economy and the nation. And to save us from such a situation our Indian government will not be able to do anything because they have already failed in controlling the coronavirus through lockdown, and it don’t even have enough treasure and resources to feed the people of their country while they are safe inside their home, in fact the government is itself is very poor that it has to demand for money and donations from the public in order to arrange resources. So, something favourable and effective has to be done beside just a lockdown to save India from becoming the nation of criminals and unemployed people.If not, at least the promises which were made to us need to be filled because the people have given taxes during the good times, donations during the hard times and charity during the adverse times. When all is done, why is a gap in the service?
There is an important aspect which needs to be studied and thought about. Has the nation not even earned this much in the last six years that it can sustain the people for a month even after taking donations?
Are we so vulnerable as a country that the government can’t handle one month of lockdown and feed the people?
The Article Is Jointly Written By Nandini Marwah & Riya Rana