Over the past few weeks the most pressing matter the government is trying to handle is the migrant crisis that has arisen out of this lockdown. It seems that the government advisory mechanism was caught off guarded over repercussions of this lockdown from the migrant perspective.
To the flocking of thousands of migrants at Delhi-Ghaziabad border, to the staging protest in Surat, Andhra border or at Bandra in Mumbai. People have been protesting to arrange the government for their return to their natives. While the government has been suggesting staying put wherever they are, respective state government have been arranging return of their citizens.
A quick survey of migrant’s shelters reveals the horror. The Delhi police survey report states to Indian Express (April 28), that fans are not working, no power backup, sanitization of toilets rarely done, most migrants want to leave as their families cannot survive, rude behavior of civil staff, pathetic quality of food, no hand wash and sanitizer, foul smells in toilet, water supply in toilets only between 7 to 11am, one soap for bathing and no detergent to was clothes, mosquito bites and so on. If these are the conditions of voluntary camps, don’t even imagine the conditions of quarantine camps where one have no option but to stay.
This lockdown has left the marginal section who barely are lifted out of poverty at the helm of going back to poverty. With no job, no food and no means to send remittances to their family, it is natural that one gets frustrated. The grim pictures of migrants cycling or walking back on foot along with small children thousands of kms paints the reality of this lockdown. Remember, the lives exist out of gated society as well. The truth is government is yet to figure out the assistance of this section, and assistance if received have benefited only few.
Once, these people go back and settle, the MSME’s will be the hardest hit, which are dependent on these workforces. Once stopped, it is no easy job to restart a business. Indian railways have set off across country to bring back home the stranded migrants and estimates that 500 such trains will be needed across 15 days to get the job done. The state of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have to huddle together as coordination with states are the major pain pointed out by the Railways. Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal are also in the line.
Once this exercise is over, the next challenge of the government is to kick start the economy and feed its jobless citizens, in a country where malnutrition is entrenched, especially among children, there is a danger of hunger becoming widespread too. We all have anecdotal evidence that families are going hungry and some are starving too. While you can have food given to you by government, one just cannot give up his dignity and have no job but just food to eat even if given free by the government. A human need is much more than just-food.
Where we read disturbing news of people committing suicide because he wasn’t able to feed his family during lockdown.
On the other hand, jewellers are forced to sell vegetables so that they can survive from the lockdown crisis.
This lockdown has brought in many perspectives that are happening in the world, brings out inherent human nature to the forefront and history will remember every action we as an individual, society or as a country do. Remember, the world will remember this. Our maiming by this virus has brought the finest and ugliest of us.
As the famous proverb goes, a small ant can make the elephant dance to its tune, the same has happened to us and actually we have been doing the same to mother nature as well. Just compare the size of an ant to elephant, virus to human and human to the size of the earth. Still !!!
The demand to hold China responsible for hiding facts and letting the world slip in this precarious situation is growing spearheaded by the US. Australia, Japan and some countries have joined the blame game. West Europe is still cautious due to many factors; however, East Europe is praising China for its help to them. India as a major stakeholder in world politics is as always diplomatic and cautious, a strategy which has worked for it most of the time.
From now on, countries will rally against China to disrupt the world order. We have realized that China under Xi Jinping is too authoritarian and is detrimental to global peace. While it gave the world a pandemic, due to its ruthless regime it was able to control it and now flexing its muscle in the south china sea, while the countries are a busy fighting virus. Same goes with its selling of PPE’s, faulty masks and test kits.
However, I don’t believe this is a society in general in China. Today its clout has helped saved itself from being penalized for such grievous and deliberate mistake and still covered up by WHO itself.
It got Pakistan the emergency bail-out package, and in repayment the very next day Pakistan blocked an area in the Arabian sea to test out anti-ship missile and armament testing, giving India a solid hint through Pakistan that it should not have suggested recasting of WHO.
We are still intrigued by why paradox has happened. West Europe and the US with great public health Infra saw high infection and death, and on the other hand South Asia somehow miraculously escaped the wrath of Virus.
India is a special case, rotting health infra, lack of doctors, not enough money, lack of protective equipment’s and many more and still, we showed the world, on why India’s frugal approach is efficient and effective.
Well, many factors are at play here.
Did universal BCG program help us?
As a population have our bodies developed a better defence against the virus as we are always exposed to the unhygienic situation?
Not sure enough. But what we know is that we implemented lockdown early, we gave priority to human lives rather than economy and we remained steadfast despite a lot of hurdles like religious gathering, attack of doctors and police, communalization and many more.
While the world is fighting for Ventilators, PPE’s, masks, we are doing our best by making some and importing some. Salute to ICMR, which quietly deviated from WHO guidelines and stood grounds on its plan.
The Economy is in shambles, the majority are losers, but some are winners as well. Radhakishan Damani, the owner of Avenue supermart running as D-Mart I believe should be the only winner in this lockdown where he gained from panic buying.
Let’s move from an individual perspective, we saw the Kirana store as the real winner brought to the forefront during these difficult times. E-commerce and supermarkets collapse suggest that slow and steady wins the race, and old is gold!! We will not be surprised to see now that manufacturers shifting gears towards channel programs benefiting these mom and pop stores. Remember, Kirana stores are much more street smart and ingenious, as another channel have too much dependency, be it delivering personal, corporate formulated protocols and supply chain or many more. We definitely will see a lot of behavioural change, government prioritizing public health spending, R&D spending and many more.
If you ever thought the defence sector is going to take a hit after this, you cannot be more wrong. We saw an increase in digital payments in some sectors which traditionally not have had much traction, maybe people will have some apprehension in exchanging cash for time to come.
We saw China’s opportunistic takeover and Gov. of India bringing new laws in FDI policy. If we look closely, everything is intertwined in itself. China increased its stake in HDFC and HDFC in Reliance Capital. Majority of investment in the digital industry can be traced back to one country. Guess who is the majority investor in Paytm?
Geo-politics and economy are intertwined in itself in this globalized world. Let’s analyze this correlation in major economies.
The US wants to maintain its supremacy and by attacking WHO, we know who it is attacking.
China recovered early and hence its economy is back on track, forcing the US to accept the deaths yet not slow down the economy. Japan, Germany, Australia coming together and trying to hold China responsible. India despite being in lockdown mode not leaving any stones unturned to make sure Its adjoining countries do not shift their gears again towards China and also use its soft power. Be it allowing exports of essential medicines like paracetamol and Hydroxichroloquine or donating to Nepal and Bangladesh.
RBI accepting Sri Lankan gov. offer of deposit as bonds. China flexing its muscle in South China sea and threatening Vietnam by allowing illegal fishing of Chinese fisherman backed by its navy in Vietnamese waters because it recently did an exercise with US Navy or making sure Pakistan gets emergency bailout and the very next day Pakistan testing missile and doing gunnery exercise, giving India direct message that it is not happy with India’s proposition in recasting WHO.
India bringing new FDI scrutiny to save itself from opportunistic takeovers yet government deliberately not falling into trap of blame game as it needs help from wherever possible. It remains to be seen how it handles again the 5G war which has again returned due to US and China strife. Major world power rushing to help Africa, not actual help but showdown to grab as much goodwill possible and remove China’s clout. Russia sending in planeloads of the mask and other essentials as a goodwill gesture to the US, and North Korea and Iran using this apt time to fire as many missiles as possible as the world is busy saving themselves.
Bringing forward these perspectives help us see through the prism that how we behaved during these times which will have major ramifications for the time to come.
Update: Twitter on Friday has said that the video clips of President Donald Trump don’t violate the rules of COVID-19 misinformation policy.
Never thought of such a terrific idea of preventing from COVID-19 coming out from the President of such a great nation!!
Bill Bryan, Department of Homeland security presented the following measures to fight with Coronavirus. He mentioned about sunlight, isopropyl alcohol, bleach which can be used to kill the virus.
Isopropyl alcohol can clean the virus in 30 sec and bleach in 5 minutes.
To which, Trump responded. He said:
So, supposing we hit the body with a tremendous – whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light and I think you said that hasn’t been checked but you’re going to test it. And then I said, suppose you brought the light inside of the body, which you can do either through the skin or in some other way. And I think you said you’re going to test that too. Sounds interesting
He didn’t stop with this, he said:
And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning?
So it’d be interesting to check that.
After this, doctors and companies we’re forced to address the world.
Lysol manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser warned the world that under no circumstances the products should be administered in human body.
Even the Dettol company reacted to it and all the doctors requested and warned people, not to take advice from Donald Trump.