ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Demerits of the Lockdown

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India’s lockdown has affected a mammoth percentage of interstate migrant labourers, especially from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar who are befuddled in this state of adversity. These workers constitute the major portion of the informal workforce in our country. With the declaration of the relief package for the poor, the government’s decision has somehow missed the nation’s most affected and vulnerable group of people in this crucial stage of maintaining “social distancing” and keeping oneself in the “state of isolation.” Indiscriminately imposed inter-state movement restrictions have resulted in the starvation of this underprivileged group of people. Not providing any shelter to the poorest of the poor can lead to the crumbling of the very credentials of democracy if these migrant workers are inadequately represented without any means and ways of protection.

Public health in India is a subject matter of the states. Shortage of food will lead to the deterioration of the health conditions of the citizens. In spite of the fact that India is an original signatory of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), we lack cooperation to tackle essential human needs. It will be an immense injustice to our people’s faith if we dilute its hallmark enshrined under the Right to life (Article 21) of the Constitution. Not only this, there are also provisions under the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) that claim that the state shall direct its policy in such a manner as to secure the rights of all men and women to an adequate means of livelihood (Article 39), and it is also a duty of the state to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living, and to improve public health (Article 47). But, so far, we have not emphasised the sanctity of this enough. The Supreme Court has explicitly laid down its signi­ficance in the case of Jijubhai Nanbhai Khachar v State of Gujarat (1995) by stating that fundamental rights (Part 3) and DPSP (Part 4) of the Constitution are the two wheels of the chariot as an aid to make social and economic democracy a truism. The policymakers must realise that the ongoing distress of India’s health sector is very disproportionately represented when compared with other developing nations of the world. Flattening the curve with weak safety nets can expose the deep fault lines of the system. This is a wake-up call for us to pursue the creation of reliable research platforms and the enhancement of medical advancement to address the ongoing crisis.

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