Skip to main content

Economic distress 'killed' 270: Demand not to extend lockdown beyond May 3

Counterview Desk
The civil society network, Right to Food Campaign (RTFc), in a statement* titled ‘No More Lockdown Beyond May 3’, has said that the current lockdown of 40 days has “hopefully” been used to prepare the health system to deal with a spread of the coronavirus in times to come”, and the government must now focus on putting in place “systems for vigorous identify, trace, test, isolate, treat strategies to be followed.”
Pointing towards how the poor have suffered “tremendous economic distress” during this period, RTFc said, at least, 270 people have died due to hunger, exhaustion, state violence, suicides and inability to access healthcare due to the lockdown, and with hot summer in full swing, the problem would worsen.

Text:

On March 25, the Government of India imposed a national lockdown initially for three weeks which was later extended till May 3. The experience over the last one month shows that the lockdown has caused tremendous economic distress, especially for the poor. Crores of migrant workers are stranded in different parts of the country, unable to earn a livelihood and desperate to reach home.
With more than 90% of the workforce being in the informal sector, people are getting into a situation where they do not have enough resources to even be able to afford basic food items. The relief measures announced by the state and central governments have come late and many, including the most vulnerable, are excluded from them.
These relief measures are still largely inadequate to duly address the food crisis in the country. We, at the RTFc, believe that the importance of the continuation of food support provisions cannot be emphasized enough in these times.
Along with our longstanding demand for universal public distribution system (PDS), we reiterate that the government must support both National Food Security Act (NFSA) and non-NFSA beneficiaries with 10kgs of grain, dal 1.5 kg and 800 gm edible oil per person per month, for the next six months (i.e. until September) at the very least.
It has been reported that, at least, 270 people have died due to hunger, exhaustion, state violence, suicides and inability to access healthcare due to the lockdown. Many sick people are unable to reach healthcare facilities because many hospitals and clinics have been closed down or are not functioning to their full capacity and further people are not able to reach facilities due to the restrictions on movement.
Additionally, with the hot summer season ahead, it is excruciatingly difficult for people to fetch water during a lockdown. We are already hearing stories of people in kachi bastis suffering from water shortage and dehydration.
Further, it has been observed that the lockdown has strengthened the policing of regular lives of the people. In several places, people in search of food have had to face extreme police brutalities. Migrant workers wanting to secure their right to food and return to their native places have been treated with acute inhumanity, so much so that many have been slammed with charges of Section 144 violations. 
Relief measures announced by state and central governments have come late; many, including most vulnerable, are excluded
We demand that the Government must take due cognisance of this immense humanitarian crisis affecting the vulnerable sections by putting an immediate end to police brutalities. The Government must also arrange safe and sanitised modes of public transport for the migrant workers to return to their native places.
The current lockdown of 40 days has hopefully been used to prepare the health system to deal with a spread of the coronavirus in times to come. We believe that the government must now focus on putting in place systems for vigorous identify, trace, test, isolate, treat strategies to be followed.
However, it appears that many state governments are looking at the occurrence of even a single case to declare ‘hotspots’ and extend ‘sealings’ whereas the increase in cases is only to be expected with easing movement restrictions. Even people who were able to manage during the initial phase of the lockdown are now falling into distress.
We insist that the social and economic consequences of continuing such blanket measures are too high and cannot be justified. The right to a dignified of the people cannot be threatened at any point of time, more so during this global pandemic.
---
*Signed by Aysha, Gangaram Paikra, Kavita Srivastava and Dipa Sinha on behalf of Steering Committee, Right to Food Campaign

Comments

TRENDING

India's GDP down by 50%, not 23%, job loss 200 million not 122 million: Top economist

By Our Representative  One of India’s topmost economists has estimated that India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decline was around 50%, and not 23%, as claimed by the Government of India’s top data body, National Statistical Organization (NSO). Prof Arun Kumar, who is Malcolm S Adiseshiah chair professor, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi, said this was delivering a web policy speech, organised by the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi.

India performs 'poorly' in Quality of Life Index, ranks 62nd out of 64 countries

Counterview Desk “Expat Insider”, which claims to be one of the world’s most extensive surveys about living and working abroad, in a survey of 20,259 participants from around the globe, has found that of the 64 destinations around the globe, has found that while Taiwan is the best destination for persons living outside their native country, closely by Vietnam and Portugal, India ranks 59th.

Youngest of 16 activists jailed for sedition, Mahesh Raut 'fought' mining on tribal land

By Surabhi Agarwal, Sandeep Pandey* A compassionate human being, always popular among his friends and colleagues because of his friendly nature and human sensitivity, 33-year-old Mahesh Raut, champion of the democratic rights of the marginalised Adivasi people of Gadchiroli, Maharashtra, has been in prison for over two years now.

#StandWithStan: It's about Constitution, democracy and freedom of expression

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  It is more than three weeks now: On the night of October 8, 2020, the 83-year-old Jesuit Fr Stan Swamy was taken into custody by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) from his residence in Ranchi to an undisclosed destination. According to his colleagues, the NIA did not serve a warrant on Fr. Stan and that their behaviour was absolutely arrogant and rude.

Human development index: India performs worse than G-20 developing countries

By Rajiv Shah A new book, “Sustainable Development in India: A Comparison with the G-20”, authored by Dr Keshab Chandra Mandal, has regretted that though India’s GDP has doubled over the last one decade, its human development indicators are worse than not just developed countries of the Group of 20 countries but also developing countries who its members.

Stan Swamy vs Arnab Goswami: Are activists fighting a losing battle? Whither justice?

By Fr Sunil Macwan SJ* It is time one raised pertinent questions over the courts denying bail to Fr Stan Swamy, who was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), and granting it to Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief of the Republic TV, arrested under the charge of abetting suicide of Avay Naik, who ended his life in 2018. It is travesty of justice that a human rights activist is not only denied bail but is also made to wait for weeks to hear a response to his legitimate request for a straw to drink water, while Arnab Goswami walks free.

India among heavily impacted by Covid-19, China 'notoriously' evading transparency

By NS Venkataraman* With the year 2020 inevitably ending in the next few weeks, the thought amongst the people all over the world is whether the coming year 2021 will be free of Covid-19 (often dubbed as Wuhan virus, as it known to have spread from Wuhan in China).In the early 2020, many people thought that Covid-19 would be a localized affair in China but later on, it proved to be a global pandemic.

Namaz in Mathura temple: Haridwar, Ayodhya monks seek Faisal Khan's release

By Our Representative As many as 23 members of the Hindu Voices for Peace (HVP), including the founder president of the well-known Haridwar-based Matri Sadan Ashram, Swami Shivananda Saraswati, and a one of its top monks, Brahmachari Aatmabodhanand, have expressed their “dismay” over the arrest of Khudai Khidmatdar chief Faisal Khan and three others on charges of “promoting enmity between religions” and “defiling a place of worship” after they offered namaz in Mathura’s Nand Baba temple premises on October 29.

Government of India 'refuses' to admit: 52% of bird species show declining trend

Finn's Weaver  By Our Representative The Government of India has been pushing out “misleading” data on the country’s drastic wildlife decline, says a well-researched report, pointing towards how top ministers are hiding data on biodiversity losses, even as obfuscating its own data. It quotes “State of India’s Birds Report 2020” to note that of the 261 out of 867 bird species for which long-term trends could be determined, 52% have declined since the year 2000, with 22% declining strongly.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".