The Pandemic COVID-19 has unfortunately brought normal life to a halt, in India. Not only India, globally it has brought life to a “standstill”! Several governments, all across the globe, have imposed unprecedented lockdown of cities and countries to prevent further spread of the disease. Our country is no exception. Though the importance of social distancing and lockdown in curbing the spread of the virus, cannot be stressed enough, yet these measures have caused huge repercussions on the socio-economic scenario of our country. India’s economic growth, which has already been seeing a slowdown over the past year, will be affected severely by COVID-19. This is because, the lockdown of the nation is causing significant disruption across multiple sectors, including Manufacturing, Tourism, Hospitality, Oil and Financial, among others. Moreover, the “social distancing” and “self-isolation”, as advocated by the government directives to contain the spread of the Pandemic, is affecting the social life as well as the psyche of the people. All in all, it’s not a very rosy picture.
THE ECONOMIC ASPECT : ” THE MOTHER OF ALL THE ECONOMIC CHALLENGES IN THE RECENT TIMES”
As per the reports, lockdowns and restrictions on commercial activities and public gatherings are likely to strongly impact our economy. According to the experts, this is the mother of all the economic challenges in recent
years. This time, it is a very difficult and different challenge because first we need to save lives, next we need to save livelihoods, and then we have to meet with other costs like loss of jobs, loss of production, supply chain disruption, etc. There have been widespread reports of supply shortages of pharmaceuticals, with many areas seeing panic buying and consequent shortages of food and other essential grocery items. COVID-19 has resulted in a huge number of urban unemployed people. Without question, those who live from day to day and have no savings to fall back on, are the most vulnerable people. Medium and small businesses are also getting affected badly. Owing to closing down of borders, airlines, etc, trade and commerce is experiencing an all-time low. This has impacted the film and television industry, too. Cinemas have been closed, film releases have been moved to future dates and shoots have been cancelled. Massive losses in the entertainment industry is predicted, too. What is worse,this scenario is not just confined to one sector or country, but it encompasses the world economy. However, some financial measures taken by our government to alleviate the sufferings of the masses, are the only rays of hope in this situation of crisis.
THE SOCIAL ASPECT : “SELF-ISOLATION ” IS THE KEY WORD
Besides all the financial and economic aspects, there lie the human costs of the Pandemic – from the deaths of friends and family, to the physical effects of infection, mental trauma of self-isolation and the fear of uncertainty. These are faced by almost everyone. Fear of the unknown often lead to feelings of panic. Moreover, when people feel that they are being denied life saving protection or treatment or that they may run out of necessities, they start panicking. This apart, lack of information or wrong information ( either provided inadvertently or maliciously) often lead to psychological stress and confusion. Closure of schools and childcare is creating additional pressure on working parents, who, too are mostly working from home. This, at times, can create family dispute. However, there are positive aspects, too. Many people are enjoying a slower pace of life and by not going out and socialising, have found more time for family and pets. Our environment, too, has become less polluted and the air quality has improved vastly.