Day 66 of the so called “lockdown”.. It has been 67 days since our Government officially understood the intensity of the situation. But have we got it all under controlled yet? Well are you even asking the right question now?
“Money is the most universal and most efficient system of mutual trust ever devised.” ― Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
Why do I talk about Money?
Well, money has been one thing among the man kind that has remained a constant since its inception. It is the only thing after religion that is not as naturally occurring as hunger, fear, love and lust and yet has a potential to drive a whole swarm of humans towards a single goal. So trust me when I say this – “It is an important topic, even in this post!!”
But this is going to be a long post, why get excited at the beginning! Lets get back a bit to see how have last few days been..
So when I started the Covid Diaries, the things across the globe were really uncool, but the numbers projected by India were still showing some hope. India stood at 526 recorded cases as on 25th March, 2020. But things were not as they seem were they?
Over the course of next 66 days, the country saw a surge(that can be compared to be exponential) in the number of cases.
Here is some data around the same:
Here is a graph from World-O-Meters, about the total number of cases as of different dates.
No, no, no that is not it..
Here is a chart from Google about the daily new cases in India:
There were mere 26 reported cases on 15 March, 87 cases were reported on 25th March and today (30th May 2020) we reported 7466 cases (highest corona cases in a day in our history so far!).
This is a humongous increase of 8481% in the daily reported cases.
But that is not it.
This is the number of deaths(caused by Corona) reported each day:If you notice, then pretty much this whole month there was not a single day when less than 80 people died. In fact, 5th and 28th May reported the highest daily death count of 194. This is not my data, this data is from Google and trust me the further you read this article you will understand that these figures are not all what we need to know!!
The Current Situation
So here is the moment I was building up…
Today in India, we stand at 181,775 reported corona cases with 5,185 reported Deaths.
So if we ignore the above charts and apply simple maths, this is roughly an average of 2713 people got infected and approx 77 people died during each day of the lockdown. This is mildly less than the global infection rate(3,253 per day) from the day lockdown begun (25th March 2020). Of course the global rate is higher than its previous self now. The reason we need to understand this comparison is to see through the severity of the situation we are in.
Below is the state wise data from wikipedia:
COVID-19 pandemic in India by state and union territory
|S.No.||State/Union Territory||Total cases||Deaths||Recoveries||Active cases|
|1||Andaman and Nicobar Islands||33||0||33||0|
|8||Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu||2||0||0||2|
|14||Jammu and Kashmir||2164||28||875||1261|
*This data may not be timely updated. As per WorldOMeter, there are 181,775 confirmed cases in India.
Here I have highlighted the top five states with highest number of cases. Delhi and Maharashtra have seen the highest number among those five states. However, we cannot ignore the growth that the pandemic has shown in previous days, and hence should not have a laid back attitude thinking the low number states are safe.
But that is that and this is this… lets see what further we can discuss.
So what has happened in India over last few days?
The ride has been a bumpy one…
A lot of good things happened. My mom dad got to watch Ramanayana and Mahabharata again. I literally saw my Mom and Dad spend so many days at home for the first time in my entire life. Literally, I have spent weekends with them, but this last month has been special. I hope, this is true for most of the people reading this. I got to read and learn a lot (another reason why I have not been posting so actively).
Finally, many of the people started embracing the work from home culture.. But this is not that type of article.
“साब,शहर में रहना और शहर में जीना दो अलग अलग सी बात लगने लगी हैं” – These were active words of someone stressed by the way things have been handled lately.
Let us see each aspect to check things out.
The taxpayers had generated only 67 lakh e-way bills, against the 4.06 crore made in March 2020. There is more than 83% fall in e-way bills generated in April 2020 set to have a significant effect on the GST revenue to be collected in May 2020. Also, the 4.06 crore e-way bills generated in March reflect a 28.9% drop from over 5.71 crore e-way bills generated in February.[source]
But you cannot blame every problem to corona. The gross GST revenue collected in the month of February, 2020 was ₹1,05,366 crore but it fell down to Rs 97,597 crore in March, 2020. The fact of the matter is, India has been facing an economic slowdown for quite a while. Covid19 just worsened the situation.
Automotive Sector (Responsible for 50% of the nation’s manufacturing GDP), was already facing a phase of pseudo-recession. April was the first month in the Indian Automotive industry when even a single car dealer couldn’t show an official sale of even a single domestic car at the end of the month. This is just one example, though.
So far Corona has caused a 4% fall in India’s GDP. We will come back to the economic aspect shortly..
Ahh, why do I even start this one again. We will come back to this one too. Long story short – Within a month, unemployment rose from 6.7% on 15 March to 26% on 19 April. During the lockdown, an estimated 14 crore (140 million) people lost employment. [source] Remind me if I don’t touch this topic again in this article..
Such a fancy term to mention the plight of the so called “pravaasi shramik”. I chose to say “pravaasi”, because these people who are today fighting to reach their home, were the same people who help us built our cities. Governments do not build your cities, they pass the tender. Contractors and builders also do not build your cities, they spread a word for recruitment. These so called “Pravaasi” labourers built the houses where most of us “vaas” today! It is highly nerving to see the unnerving attitude where the government easily declare a phase titled as harsh as a “LOCKDOWN”, without thinking the impact it will have on the psychologies of people who are not as intelligent as them.
So what has Government been up to?
Well to be honest, on paper we have worked just fine. Just check out how cool we are:
Cool Nomenclature for Lockdowns…
Forget Die Hard 4.0, we have been having lockdown 1.0, lockdown 2.0 and so on..
Over self praising
So, one thing we Indians have always been good at is showing the world how good we are “ON THE RESUME”. Similar things happened in this time too. From banging the doors and utensils to lighting candles. We showed such amazing spirit that WHO congratulated our PM on these efforts [which is now an add on to his portfolio for his party’s elections in 2024]. WHO guys got so impressed, that they eventually made Dr Harsh Vardhan (who is our Health Minister and also the person who claimed that Hawking had said that the Vedas postulated a theory superior to Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity).
Liquor Stores Opened
Just within 40 days, liquor stores were re-opened[again without any precautions]
By volume, India is the world’s ninth-largest consumer of all alcohol, according IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, a London-based research firm. It is the second largest consumer of spirits (whiskey, vodka, gin, rum, tequila, liqueurs), behind China. India consumes more than 663 million litres of alcohol, up 11% from 2017.
What stopped the authorities from being proactive when it came to implementing social distancing?
20 Lakh Crore Relief Package
On 12th May, our respectable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji came forward to answer an impending question. No that question was not about his mangoes and certainly not about his wallets. The question was simple, what is the plan to help out the economy, the industries, the MSMEs and the people of India?
And he answered… He announced an extravagant relief package of approx 20 Lakh Crore (20,000,000,000,000.00 INR). This package was supposed to be 10% of the total GDP of India. However, over the course of next 5 days the nation got to know that this was nothing major but still another asset in his portfolio.
Apparently, majority of the schemes were the ones that were already announced under our national budget or a different plan. Above all, almost everything related to MSME sector came down to LOANS!!!
Make In India
Vocal for Local
It is like asking someone answer to “What is gravity?” People will be answering:
- something discovered by Newton
- the force that pulls two objects
- force of attraction between two massess
- it is force that keeps the planets in their orbits..
- that movie with Sandra Bullocks in Space suit..
At the end Gravity is Gravity.
This one is Interesting…
- The Prime Minister Announces the Lockdown
- The Central Government do not anticipate any hiccups from the citizens
- VUCA world happens – Not my words.. Someone said this to me explaining the Exodus
- State Governments panic, like what is happening. There is no guidelines about these movements
- Central Government passes that either administer bus-based transportation or keep them in your premises
- Some of the State Government [in back of their minds]: wait the relief we might have to offer them would be cost effective if we send them to their own state.
- State Governments start preparing transports, and while they announce every one can stay where they are, they also announce that bus facility is available.
- Unexpected surge happens in number of innocent labourers with their families wanting to go home in a state of panic
- Social Distancing gets flushed into GUTTER
- State and Central Government Panic again, so they halt the movement and then starts a controlled transport
- Labourers not sure what to do, continue to walk on foot
- Food is distributed to these poor souls in form of biscuits, few chapatis and water. Some get Poha too but all this food is just not good in looks and taste… Moreover many face more than 23 hours interval between two meals , while most stay hungry
- Many days later, trains are started (after many days from when they were officially supposed to start).
- Word spreads
- Hopeful labourers reach platforms.
- Trains come but over delay in reaching the destinations with no meals.
- Rail minister posts “windows of hope”!!
So just to highlight again: There were mere 26 reported cases on 15 March, 87 cases were reported on 25th March and today (30th May 2020) we reported 7466 cases (highest corona cases in a day in our history so far!).
See this chart again:
This blue line here.. This zig zaggy line is living people getting infections every day. And we have started lifting the lockdown restrictions. Markets are already filled with people. Gyms and Malls might open by 8 June. Schools and Colleges may open up by July.
This is nothing to be happy about. This is us accepting our defeat and accepting the fate!!
There has been many other things:
- Locust Swarm – the latest
- Pulwama like attack prevented
- Arnab Goswami went full communal and unethical – but that keeps on happening
- Three people were lynched to death – Another example human cruelty and also of failed social distancing measure
- Rahul Gandhi proved right twice in a row..
What are my problems?
Well, I love this country and the people and everyone. Modi is my prime minister too and I love him just as much as I would some other prime minister.
My problem is the inability of this government in taking the questions, not owing up to its mistakes and not being answerable to genuine questions.
More than 150 people died during Demonetization.. But funny story is that those deaths were not even addressed.. Demonetization was supposed to curb counterfeit and black money. Which it did not!! Our government is supposed to be smart enough to understand the counter measures a black money holder would do to protect his stuff.
Hardly 1.28% of total GDP was spent on our healthcare in 2018. Do you think this is the way to build a Sashakt Bharat?
Electricity has reached every village today in India, but does every village still get 24×7 electricity?
My Questions are simple!!!
Why was the lockdown not well planned?
Ideally, the government is supposed to be built with people of certain abilities. Planning and mitigation both come under those skills. Announcing all of a sudden out of the blue that certain thing will be banned(be it notes or movement outside home) is obvious to cause country wide panic among the misinformed. Yet it has happened more than once.
Why is it hard to acknowledge that the lockdown methods were incompetent?
There have been colonies and places where no government regulated delivery was done. Moreover, ideally if there would have been even 10 credible experts on boarded to strategies the whole corona case, things would have been different. For instance, initial quarantine of the people in March was actually only jargon-based movement and nothing was strictly implemented enough. The government was half heartedly not even ready with complete testing gear and ventilators.
Even today, a person struggles to find the right Covid-specialist hospital with all facility as most of the hospitals are only prepared for normal isolation but not for emergency cases. There is not even availability of ventilator equipped ambulances when it is required.
Who will audit PM Cares Fund??
Officials working with the Comptroller and Auditor General of India stated that they were not allowed to audit the fund, since it was “based on donations of individuals and organisations”. The government stated that “independent auditors who will be appointed by the trustees”. How do you intend to hire these independent auditors?
Where is 20 lakh crore relief package? Why cannot there be basic pay ?
Instead of over promising and under delivering it would have been so much better to have under promised and over delivered.
A basic pay or at least some real-time wage based support to industries could have prevented the unemployment rate to some percentage, if not total. But what we got is a large amount of loan system. The fun fact is the government has asked the banks to give loan and government will be the guarantor. So, 3 years down the line when many of the MSMEs will not be able to pay up the loans they borrowed the government will eventually be in further debts.
Why cannot the lockdown be regulated instead if lifting it up!!
This is an embarrassment, that the only resolve our government can see to revive the economy is by starting an Unlocking!!! Cannot you see the rising curve? Does the government now only cares about the vote bank and is pleasing the markets and general public in its short term vision?
Who counts the deaths?? What deaths are counted?
The normal counters show us the deaths of people reported due to corona. But more than 80 people have died in the exodus caused due to lockdown. Government conveniently mentions they died of older diseases or tiredness.. But everyone knows they died of mistreatment and extreme stress. Where does these deaths go? And what about the fake reports, false negatives of corona..
Where are we heading to?
Even before Covid19, India’s economy was slumping.
This was nothing unexpected.. Blunders like Demonetization coupled up with GST issues [Don’t argue with me on this – Even FinMin agrees with the helplessness: “GST might have flaws but I’m sorry, it’s the ‘kanoon’ of the country now,” Sitharaman said].
But amidst the corporate politics and political parties only common man, knowingly or unknowingly, loses the battle. Same seems to be our fate in the time to come!!