Reportedly more than two months have passed since the nationwide lockdown was put in place to fight the novel coronavirus. The largest shutdown in the world has helped save several thousand lives, but it has also put India’s poorer population face-to-face with an existential crisis. The sudden economic disruption triggered by the lockdown left almost 12 crore people in india daily wager labourers, small shop owners, migrants jobless in april, according to Centre For Monitoring indian Economy (CMIE).
From household helps to daily-wage labourers and lower-salaried employees, a large section of India’s poor have been hit severely due to the lockdown. The viral video of a toddler trying to awaken his mother’s dead body or the starving man feeding off a dog carcass on the Delhi-Jaipur highway are extreme examples of how badly the lockdown has impacted India’s poor. Crores of migrant labourers and workers engaged in low-paid jobs continue to face extreme difficulties as they still have no sources of income during the lockdown; most have exhausted the little savings they had. Others have sold their belongings to reach home, or at least tried.
As india plans to further ease lockdown restrictions after May 31, experts say that at least 10 crore poor indians will be pushed below the World Bank-determined poverty line of $3.2, which is slightly above Rs 240.A Bloomberg report quoting Ashwajit Singh, managing director of IPE Global, suggests that the percentage of poverty-stricken people in the country could rise from 60 per cent to 68 per cent.The database shows that over 100 people have died due to starvation and financial distress during the lockdown, while as many as over 200 people have died in accidents while travelling or walking long distances to their native places. Noted economists like Nobel Laureate abhijit banerjee, senior india NATIONAL CONGRESS' target='_blank' title='congress-Latest Updates, Photos, Videos are a click away, CLICK NOW'>congress leader P chidambaram and former bank OF INDIA' target='_blank' title='rbi-Latest Updates, Photos, Videos are a click away, CLICK NOW'>rbi governor raghuram Rajan agree that India’s poor are facing the biggest crisis of their lives and the government should provide direct cash relief to help them.