India has already suffered huge loss of income, employment and GDP due to nation-wide lockdown for 40 days since March 27, 2020.
To soften the blow from the pandemic to economy and livelihoods, some countries have refrained from imposing a strict lockdown in the first place. Instead they have resorted to stringent practicing of social distancing, intense surveillance, contact tracing and quarantine measures to tide over the challenge.
In India the government has been more concerned about saving lives and thereby reducing the magnitude of the fiscal package necessary to safeguard livelihood. The government has announced only a ₹2 trillion package so far and is working to announce another comprehensive package at the earliest.
In an attempt to fill stressed State Government coffers with revenues, liquor stores across the country were opened up and this move yielded immediate results as a crucial factor of income was restored with people cueing up relentlessly outside liquor stores. However, lives were again jeopardised as all forms of social distancing and caution were thrown to the wind in the frenzy.
Similarly, every attempt the government might make to reopen establishments or businesses and activities in any sector to set right the supply chain and save livelihoods runs the risk of jeopardising lives due to the threat of people not following social distancing norms.
Given this scenario, how do you think the government should aim to save livelihoods? Will more stringent social distancing while businesses open up help? Will providing cash to India’s poorest 60% as suggested by Nobel Laureate Abhijit Banerjee, help revive the economy? Will increasing people’s spending power do the trick so that money comes back into the system?
Share your strategy or thoughts on what the government could do to save jobs and livelihoods in every sector to revive the economy.
Keep abreast of everything on the coronavirus outbreak. Check here.
Here’s a live blog that you can follow for minute-to-minute updates.