India is in lockdown 2.0 and none of us are hoping to see a 3.0 Version of the lockdown. But, as said, if wishes were horses, beggars would ride!!! It is so easy for any one of us to wish for the best but do not think about doing something about it or either crib about the whole situation and about the unprecedented times our generations have to live in. One striking similarity in all the quandary people are facing/discussing is the “What & Why” of the problem like:
Why did this happen?
What is Government doing about it?
When is the problem going to get finished? And many more…
However, none of us is trying to look into “how” of the problem like:
How could this be solved?
How could it be handled better in the long run? And many more…
I know, there are experts and people talking about the 2nd wave of Virus coming all across the world even if this one subsides for the moment, but hey, it’s human resilience and we live in times when we’ve got the greatest control over technologies and knowledge (not absolute though).
The problem is even more acute in a country like ours (India) where there is a problem of plenty; be it people, poverty and pandemic. It’s high time the Government gets its act together and fights against all three evils steadily but effectively to control the menace and save future generations.
The question comes, “HOW”.
Here are a few submissions I would like to make (in no particular order):
Problem of People & Poverty to fight Pandemic:
- Ease out the lock-down: I’ve read great visionaries (Awdesh Singh’s answer at the bottom)who have opined for Government to start businesses and public activities gradually after taking all due precaution like it is done in many other countries like Germany, South Korea, Singapore and even in China. Government may start to ease out lock-down and create standard/protocols to be followed when one head out of home to start his/her work/economic activity in areas relating to social distancing, sanitation, dis-infestation etc.
- Conversion of Schools/Colleges into temporary Shelters: It is high time that we protect the migrant workers, people without homes/stranded by providing them shelter by creating temporary arrangements in Schools, colleges. Universities and hostels. In any case, kids being the vulnerable lot should be avoided to return to School any time soon and colleges/higher education students have already been asked to return home across the country. The best possible way to use these immense capital assets is to convert them into shelter places for anyone who has temporarily no place to go.
- Financial help by people/Government: India is a population of 136crore people and theoretically speaking if each one of us contribute Re.1 as donation/charity to help fight against Covid-19, it would end up creating a surplus of Rs.136cr (USD 17.8bn). However, not all are in their fullest potential to help, so it’s time, the ones who do like me, donate as much as we can. And do not donate all your money in one fund, do it where you find it most comfortable and effective be it the local NGO (in your locality) or PM Cares fund or directly help people (provided all precautions are taken under the Law and as per Government Advisory) who desperately need help. With one fourth of population below the poverty line, even if we assume 5% of the remaining population (tax paying population) to contribute Rs.25 per person in the capable family, we would end up creating Rs.127cr in no time to fight this pandemic. Common think about it, it is not a humungous task for any one of us. And if the above can be repeated for every month, think about what kind of stimulus packages that can get created.
- Telephone lines/tele-medics: Government to focus more on establishing/creating telephone lines/tele-medics to assuage people of their concerns, depressions, anxiety disorders and especially in Rural areas/remote areas to set up phone lines to understand the questions/concerns people face in relation to Covid-19. Believe me, when it comes to sanity, I’ve seen people in rural areas are wiser to act may be on account of limited resources or social pressures or low exposure to insane acts that yields better results.
- Create small bouts of demand: Today what India and many other countries are facing is a glut in demand and plethora of supplies. It is time that we slowly start creating demand for purchasing items like mangoes etc (fruit of the season) which is otherwise started to rotten on account of no demand. And not just mangoes, but let’s start the cycle/engine slowly back again.
- No more pressure: We all need to realize that the Government/private systems/infrastructure is already reeling under immense pressure and we would certainly not want to be on the wrong side of not helping the Government to fight the menace. Let’s avoid unwarranted/un-necessasited activities for the moment till we are out of this together.
- Regulate Media: It is high time Government start regulating/limiting the amount/content of news available on television which ends up creating more problems/tensions than solve them in the minds of a normal consumer in relation to the pandemic. The lesser the people get exposed to unwanted news the more they can feel happy during these depressing times. In fact, I clearly remember having ‘Moral Science’ classes during school days to learn not just good habits but also good deeds and behaviors towards one another. Government could end up creating more encouraging shows/music etc. and limit the number of channels that could broadcast news or limit the number of hours for which it can be broadcasted. Remember, the newspapers not reaching us now is because of Covid-19 but we still allow the unwanted news to reach us through televisions because Covid-19 cannot spread through them. It is pertinent to note that the hatred being spread on caste/creed/religion is only adding fuel to the pandemic problem and not assuaging it.
- Better Programs/broadcasts: Government to show programs with experts and doctors delineating details on Covid-19, sanitation tips, how to take preventive measures and precautions, testing etc.
- I encourage Government to not just talk more to people through media/radio/television but also wish if it could send out certificates to all the unsung heroes of our society who have been on the front lines to fight this challenge be it a cleaner/doctor/police/engineers/scientists etc. Each and every person who has helped the society during these times certainly needs recognition.
- Tax cuts: Government should end up cutting tax rates for the year in order to leave more disposable incomes in the hands of the earners. This would end up creating a spiraling effect on the economy at large and with money flowing through increased transactions in every nook and corner of the country.
- Mass testing: There should be mass testing that needs to be carried out and at a much faster pace. I believe this can only happen if more labs/medical utilities are given enough license(s)/permissions to carry out the same and direct them to carry out tests at nominal rates and claim subsidy from Government later. How grim the situation is can been seen from the statistic that a total of 5,79,957 samples have been tested as on 25 April 2020, 9 AM IST as per ICMR.
Categories: Random Thoughts