In this fight against the 2nd COVID wave, the state government of Karnataka has announced a package of Rs.1250 crores for the ones whose livelihood has been negatively affected by the pandemic. The state has been under lockdown since April 27 and is planning to extend it beyond 24th May.
The crisis this pandemic has caused has never been seen before. It has inculcated within itself all the vulnerabilities from emotional to economic. Many experts during the very first wave came up saying that ‘lockdown’ is no measure to cure the situation. This became the centre of the argument of those blaming the Central government’s decision of implementing the lockdown in 2020 for the economical downslide. It is true that when the very meaning of GDP is ‘Gross Domestic Product’, production being stalled in itself became a reason for a -23.9% GDP slide. Also, the most affected were the informal and MSME sector workers who lost their jobs. Not being covered by the employment benefits that the formal sector provides, became a problem for those who somehow managed to find work during the lockdown. However, this economic crunch cannot be a reason to downplay the threat the Coronavirus posed for lives. Thus, a lockdown along with an ‘Atmanirbhar’ package is one of the best available ways to fight provided the health infrastructure is being constantly worked upon to accommodate the treatment of the ones affected along with strong R&D working upon the antidote and vaccines. Discarding the ‘lockdown’ in itself by some isn’t backed up with proper explanations except for false equivalences from the parts of the world that are in no way similar to India.
The study says that the states that implemented lockdown, even after being largely populated were able to prevent the deadly impact of the virus more than others. For example- UP did much better than Maharashtra even after the latter having a lesser population and is considered more developed. The announcement of the Atmanirbhar package by the Central government came as an assurance to the ones whose livelihood came under risk during this time. The government, respecting the federal structure also encouraged the states to work in a decentralized way to empower India internally. Nevertheless, much before even the centre announced its relief package, being the 1st state of the country, the Karnataka government-provided economic relief during the 1st wave too. Now, dealing with the 2nd wave in the same active manner showcases the resolve of the state to get over these tough times saving as much life it can, both from the pandemic and from the economic insecurity.
The 1250 crores package of the state government has provision to provide relief to farmers, construction workers, cab and taxi drivers, cobblers, household workers, rag-pickers, etc. The state has made a fair attempt to reach out to the last person working for a living. This can be a queue to other states as well which can reduce the burden of the central government and also can make such initiatives more efficient and accessible. Along with this, the media too shall come up to create awareness amongst the beneficiaries as most of them are not much indulged in the internet world thereby slipping from the support networks due to the lack of information. Each one who can must contribute their part to not only stay safe from the virus but also help the ones who have been hit by the pandemic in more than one way. Right information, awareness, precautions and restrain along with government outreach and R&D will make India get over this crisis too.
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