Rich and poor, every one of us is struggling during this pandemic. From shopkeepers to big businessmen, all are suffering during this pandemic. As COVID-19 spreads throughout the world, national strategies for tacking the coronavirus are also being revised continuously. The worst for both the worlds for any country today is when it can neither prevent the loss of lives nor that of GDP. The health risk could have been better controlled but at the cost of the economy. Getting the economy to resume adds to a faster spread of viruses since the economic activity will force people to come out of their homes to earn their living, use public transport and gather at public places.
The migrant workers and farmers cannot wait for the lockdown to end as it will cost them their livelihood. The government has allowed farmers to sell their produce in mandis and FMCG companies to reach essential services to consumers. But if the lockdown is extended, it may affect the economy in several ways. Hundreds of the thousands of cash-starved small businesses have either deferred or cut their workers’ wages this month. The salaries of employees in private and government have been cut off.
Lockdown would save lives but kill livelihoods. The world is going through the worst recession due to COVID-19. In a country like India where one-third of the workforce comprises of people who might have not received wages in the lockdown, this pandemic is a force that has the potential to destroy their livelihood. The economy is severely hurt by the contraction of output on the supply-side and contraction of employment on the demand side. For the economy to recover, the sooner the lockdown is lifted, even if partially, the better it is.
For the well being of people, we need to save lives and livelihood both. If this loss of livelihood persists, it may lead to widespread hunger, unemployment, and loss of lives. Several economists say that the option to tide over the crisis is for the fiscal deficit to be enlarged. All the essential measures should be taken to bring back the economy on the road by keeping in mind the livelihood of millions of people. The focus should be to educate and empower people to protect themselves rather than physically distancing themselves endlessly at home.