Is India ready to lift the lockdown?

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By: Bishaldeep Kakati

The most talked about question that now lingers in the mind of every concerned Indian citizen is: Is India ready to lift the lockdown? Many people are of the opinion that the increase in the number of corona virus cases simply means that it would be hazardous if India completely lifts the lockdown at this crucial juncture. However, the burgess also understands the fact that a continuous increase of lockdown would also have a disastrous affect upon the overall development of the country. And that is the reason the government is also finding it difficult to come out with the perfect solution that would not only protect the people and reduce the spike in the number of corona virus cases but would also strengthen the overall development of the country.

India as we all know has started the fourth phase of lockdown which would continue till 31st of May 2020. And thereafter it would be interesting to see whether or not the 5th phase of lockdown is brought into effect. However, the striking thing that has come up especially after the end of the second phase of lockdown is that the government has tried its best to give as much relaxation as possible in the third phase of lockdown, so as to allow the citizens to earn their livelihood and also keep the country moving. But confusions still lark around regarding the possibility of completely lifting up the lockdown from India after the fourth phase ends.

In the current context, the conspicuous fact is that probably the time has come, where the citizens should realize the fact that they have to survive keeping in mind that the dangerous virus exists amidst them. The reason behind this is that it’s not easy to come up with a vaccine in a short span of time, hence surviving by protecting oneself and the community would be the best way forward to deal with the situation.

In reality, the entire process of lockdown has been relaxed owing to the fact that the government is concerned about the degrading economic condition of the country plus the hardship that the daily wage earners are suffering from. The relaxation in the lockdown process has no doubt meant that the cabs, autos, rickshaws can operate with some restrictions however the fear amongst the denizens has prompted them to stay indoors which means that the auto and cab drivers or rickshaw pullers have not been able to earn as much as they would have desired. Further, the ongoing restrictions on the opening of restaurants, hotels etc have depicted a pathetic scenario where some of the owners are either forced to stop their business and become vegetable vendors or owners of reputed hotels or restaurants have been compelled to expel their employees due to lack of incoming revenue resources. Along with this, another pivotal issue that the government needs to consider is that of reopening of educational institutions as students across India are losing their valuable time. So all in all, it would be quite a challenge for the government to curb the increasing number of infected individuals and also bring in normalcy altogether as because the lockdown process cannot be the long term solution to deal with this alarming situation.

The palpable fact that is known to one and all is that the fourth phase of lockdown in India would end on 31st May 2020. From here, the government has two options in their hands, either to lift the lockdown completely or bring into place the 5th phase of lockdown. But the point is that the perspective of whether or not to bring the lockdown, both sides of the coin would definitely have a notable impact.

Due to this lockdown, India’s economy has already taken a major blow and many people are still finding it hard to earn their daily wages. So the first option for the government would be to completely lift the lockdown by resuming almost all economic and commercial activities, including restarting of all supply chain of goods and services and allowing complete normal movement of public transport by road, rail and air. If everything goes according to plan, then the government can also think about re-opening the educational institutions with proper guidelines and restrictions. But while opting for this option, the government must simply focus on dealing with the infected individuals in the best way possible and look to take appropriate measure in COVID-19 hotspots.

However, the concern is that if the government opts for the first option, there might be an unexpected spike in the number of infected individuals as well. In fact, when there has always been an increase in the number of infected individuals ever since the inception of the first positive case in India without any downfall, it would be very risky for the government to opt for the first option. And if this logic is taken into consideration, then of course the government should opt for the second option i.e. to enforce another lockdown. But another lockdown would also further degrade the pillars of Indian economy.

Thus taking everything into consideration, the general opinion would be of course to put forward the suggestion that it won’t be appropriate for the government to lift the lockdown completely at this point of time rather it should continue enforcing the lockdown for a prolonged period of time. But scenes prevailing in and around India show that the lockdown which is in action currently is just for namesake as people have not been following the restrictions properly.

Therefore, if the government feels that it won’t be able to control the overall degrading scenario of Indian economy, then the ideal option for the government might be to take an approach to improve the health facilities as much as possible so that they can treat the infected individuals and reduce the death rate on one hand, and on the other hand should focus on lifting the restrictions on the lockdown slowly with proper assessment of the situation. And if vice versa is the case then they should of course continue the lockdown at least till the point where the graph of the infected individuals reduces drastically.

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