India’s Lockdown: Sweet or Sour? – Shweta Garg
The world is suffering from the attack of COVID-19 (Corona Virus). This virus has resulted in a pandemic that is trapping every country one by one. Over 7,219,187 are the total infected cases in the world. These numbers are not accurate because every hour, it is increasing. People faced health issues and were scared of getting infected. Therefore, Heads of countries decided to announce the lockdown; this means that people need to stay at their homes and cannot go outside for any reason unless there is an emergency. Furthermore, all businesses and offices would be closed down temporarily; only medical stores and essential commodities’ shops will get permits to stay open. China was the first country to announce the lockdown because the virus, for the very first time, hit Wuhan, China. Now, to date, more than 32 countries had announced lockdown for protection.
Lockdown in India
India was first affected by the COVID-19 on 30th January 2020 in Kerala when a student returned home for a vacation from Wuhan University in China. Honorable Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi (hereinafter referred to as “The PM”) announced India’s first lockdown on 24th March 2020 for 21 days and limited the movement of 1.3 billion population as the primary measure against COVID-19. The lockdown was announced when the numbers of confirmed positive COVID-19 cases were approximately 564, and there were ten deaths. Till now, four phases of lockdown announced from 24th March 2020 to 31st May 2020. The fifth phase of lockdown has been announced only for containment zones from 1st June 2020, scheduled to end on 30th June 2020.
Benefits from the Nationwide Lockdown
The PM announced lockdown to protect the country from the COVID-19’s attack and flatten the curve of the virus.
During the lockdown, the ICMR got the opportunity to ramp up the capacities for testing, over and above, ensure that all the overburdened professionals have enough safety equipment (PPE kits) for their protection. During all the five phases of the lockdown, over 1,61,169 isolation beds and over 19,304 ICU beds have been ready in stock for needed. At this time, more ventilators manufactured. The lockdown initially slowed down the speed of the virus and helped in the preparation of the quarantine centers. Therefore, lockdown helped the country to fight and get prepared for the inevitable.
Furthermore, the lockdown had helped in reducing every type of pollution. According to Dr. Pradeep Kumar Mishra, an IIT Professor in the BHU States, a 40%-50% improvement is noticed in the quality of Ganga.
Lockdown has allowed the country to spend the quality time with their family and concentrate on their hygiene. Furthermore, people are now more acknowledging to the biodiversity in their surroundings as more wildlife has come to the empty roads.
Unintended Lockdown Drawbacks
The lockdown was initiated with a bonafide intention of slowing down the growth rate of the infected people, but many repercussions have followed this. The Indian lockdown was a draconian action taken by the Government. The sudden decision had effected many lives and devastated the structure of the Economy.
The Indian Economy is characterized as a developing market Economy, but in lockdown, this development had paused. The lockdown has been resulted in catastrophic for the Indian Economy since there is no help for small businesses; moreover, there is no availability of unemployment benefits. Airlines and Tourism, Hospitality, Automobile, and Entertainment sectors are the ones that have been walloped because of this pandemic. According to Aadar Poonawalla, CEO of the Serum Institute of India, the economic danger of the outbreak was exponentially greater than its health risks. The past calculations have shown that the lockdown has only flattened the GDP curve.
Furthermore, during the lockdown, India is facing the biggest Migrant Labour Crises. With all the factories and workplaces had been shut down, migrant laborers had to deal with the loss of income, food shortage, and even loss of their shelter. They are uncertain about their future and are scared that the starving would kill them first before the virus does. This fear had resulted in exodus. They are compelled to move out and walk for hundreds of kilometers to their homes. Many laborers died due to road accidents. Despite taking many initiatives by the Central and State governments, these laborers are still suffering.
Lockdown had further resulted in stretching the hardship of many women in the country. The NALSA and NCW suggested that the nationwide lockdown has led to a rapid increase in cases of domestic violence. The lockdown has also overburdened the housewives and had resulted in anxiety and depression. Furthermore, according to the Economics Times, women are facing the brunt of COVID-19 with more job cuts and less pay.
The findings that I have presented suggest that the lockdown in India, in the majority, had brought harm to society. The lockdown gave the country a path to prepare for the pandemic but it has also damaged the significant sectors of the country. The Economy is the thing that allows us to survive and thrive, but the lockdown has harmed the structure of the Indian Economy. The lives of people have also been affected severely. Moreover, the primary purpose of the lockdown failed due to an unplanned decision and an increase in patients every day. While this blog does not offer a conclusive answer to the question of whether the lockdown was a wrong decision for India or not, but it does give us a picture of how lockdown has affected the surrounding of us.
Therefore, one can conclude that the decision of the lockdown to flatten the curve is not the endpoint. This decision was a temporary way to slow the growth rate of the infected people, but the real war has started only after. As a result of writing this blog, I propose that the Government is obliged to make more effective and efficient decisions with more planning so that people suffer less than in now situation and the Economy can be brought on the track again.