Impact of Nation-wide shutdown on Daily Wageworkers
The Pandemic of COVID-19 has not only black shadowed India, but the world as a whole. It started from the nation of China and has spread to various other parts of the world, including, the USA, Italy, Spain, UAE, and India. There have been different kinds of impacts and effects that this virus has had on different countries. In a country like India, there are not many medical kits to test the patients with the symptoms of the illness, and states like New York in the USA do not have enough hospitals in order to admit the patients with the illness. Countries have slowly started to resort to measures such as social distancing, lockdown, curfews etc..
The most impacted by these lockdowns are the people below the poverty line and the daily wage workers. In a developing country like India, the daily wage workers constitute 39.2% of the entire population of the country and they are the most impacted by the lockdowns. Usually, people tend to save up for a few more months from their monthly salary, so even during such shutdowns, they will be able to sustain lives for a considerable amount of time. But the wages of these daily wage labourers are just enough for their present times. Many of these workers work under the government scheme of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee(MGNREGA) and this has come to a halt due to the national lockdown of 21 days. The scheme employs 26.6 crore workers across the country and in the current financial year there are 7.75 crore individuals who are employed under MGNREGA. All of these workers are now unemployed due to the nation-wide lockdown. Not all of these workers have been promised to be paid for the period during which they are unemployed because the individual states have to utilise their funds to efficiently attend to the medical needs of the people who have been infected by the deadly virus.
The state of Kerala has generously announced that the workers will be paid even during the lockdown for the next two months and the state of Karnataka has announced to pay the workers for the next two months but in a single amount. Certain other states like Jharkhand do not have the requisite funds to pay such workers and have therefore requested the Union Government to release certain funds to provide unemployment payments to the workers employed under the scheme. All the states and even the Union government has been promising reliefs for the workers under the government scheme of MGNREGA, but what will happen to the wagers who are employed on an individual basis under private contractual terms? There must be some relief that the government should grant except for distributing groceries and other essential supplies as the daily requirement of people can vary and can be outside the purview of what the government has been providing now.
Tags : #covid19 #21dayslockdown