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Economic, Legal And Social Impact Of Covid-19

When the world has come to a devastating stage due to a pandemic that has left most of the countries in a state of pity, it is high time now to analyse the effects of the pandemic in various spheres. Not only the developing, but the most developed and well equipped countries like America, Italy and Spain have failed in controlling the effects of it. The first case of COVID-19 was reported in China in December 2019. Since then, there has been no day when the people worldwide have not been in fear of the rising global pandemic.

The rate of transmission of the pandemic has been rapidly increasing till date and has caused hundreds of thousands of deaths on the global scale. With high rise in the number of infected people, the only method to control the virus from reaching the rest of the mass was to alienate people from each other.

The Indian Government, on March 22, 2020, declared a nation wide lockdown, restricting the movement of people to their houses. This was a major step that helped the government to cope with the pandemic to a great extent. The transmission chain of the virus broke down and the exponential curve marking the increasing number of reports has been seen decreasing rigorously.

But, what became slow with the decreasing reports of COVID-19 were also the economic, medical, social and legal development of the country. In a speech made by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he estimated that the pandemic could push back the nation to 20 years if not controlled in time. Besides, the economic development of the country has already been adversely affected due to the pandemic.

The capital being spent during this period is the one that had been resting in the government’s treasury. With the movement of railways, transports, marketing, airlines and all the other major services, the economic growth of the country came to a stand still. The relaxation with the deadlines of the payment of taxes due to the lockdown has given a relief to the common people but to the government this indicates a delay in recovery of the treasury.

The Government has also borne the railway fares of the citizens returning to their native places amidst this lockdown, maintained an affordable price of all necessary commodities, helped the poor economically by paying them a certain amount and sanitized various placed in the country to fight with this deadly infection. The exportation of goods has also been restricted, leading to a huge loss to the economy.

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) estimates for India downwards by 0.2% points for fiscal year 2020 and by 0.5% for the fiscal year 2021. The FICCI’s survey reports a huge impact of the shutdown caused due to COVID-19 on 53% of businesses in India.[1]

The salaries are being cut and the employees being laid off by various airlines and hotels. The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy reported that the unemployment rate in India has risen to 26% from 7% within a month after the lockdown was imposed.[2] Not only the industries but the agriculture has also been severely affected due to the pandemic. The tea estates were unable to harvest their first flush due to the logistical problems following the lockdown. This will lead to a significant decrease in revenue in the Darjeeling reason and might also cause a drop up to 8% in exports.

According to a RBI approved credit rating agency, the Indian Economy was expected to lose over Rs. 32,000crore everyday during the first 21 days of the lockdown. Uncertainty is being faced by a large number of farmers around the country who grow perishables and also by the daily wage workers.

Since, the pandemic has already caused a huge loss and is expected to exploit more of the economy, strict measures will have to adopted by the government to cover the loss. The state governments might increase taxes in certain areas, employees may have to face a reduction in salary, the prices of various commodities might rise and the railway and airline fares might increase to cope with the economic crisis after the lockdown is lifted.

The virus that is spreading unleashed in the human society has now outreached the legal spheres also. The collective commitment to fight the disease has crossed the limits set by certain laws laid down in the constitution. Mass surveillance, i.e. , tracking people through their mobile data is one of them.

This is a step that intrigues into Right to Privacy of people.[3] The complete lockdown imposed due to COVID-19 around the country has restricted the movement of people which accounts to infringement of Right to freedom of movement.[4] The courts at most of the places around the nation are not working these days; leading to a delay in imparting justice.

Many of the contacts are being cancelled due to this deadly virus. The labour class people who are moving to their native places on foot from a distance far away; are even debarred of their Right to Life with dignity.[5] In times of pandemic, the protection of the Right to health for all must be the primary aim of state policies and measures, because pandemics and state response thereto can also pose significant risk to many other social rights.

Protection of freedom of expression and media freedom in times of a pandemic is of vital importance. The shift of media consumption onto online platforms ranging from social media and search platforms to messaging applications coincided with the phenomena such as online disinformation, hateful rhetoric and electoral manipulation, resulting in decline of trust in the media, expertise and democratic institutions. Therefore, regulating the sprawling new media and empowering reliable, trustworthy news sources become important imperatives.

How could the social lives be unaffected by such a pandemic- unlike one in the 75years of history of the United Nation? And so, we are witnessing a major impact of the deadly virus on our societies. All the interaction and the social connect has come to a standstill.

The pandemic has not left any segment of the society untouched; but it is particularly detrimental to the members of the most vulnerable social gropus, including the old people, people with disabilities, the ones who live under the thick sheet of poverty and the small children. There are millions upon millions of homeless people running around for water and food, there are migrants who are highly exposed to the danger of virus and then there are displaced people who are standing to suffer both from the pandemic and its after-effects:- increased xenophobia, unemployment and limited movement.

This pandemic has uprooted almost all the sustainable development goals, the goals for reducing inequalities, the goals for eradicating poverty and all the analytical voices for promoting social inclusion. This is high time we did our part the best. This is our turn of protect the humanity through the protection of workers. This is the time to provide basic income security of all times, thereby enhancing people’s capacity to manage and overcome shocks. The pandemic needs to considered more than a health crisis; it is all economic, social and human crisis.

References:
  1. FICCI, Impact Of Covid-19 On Indian Economy, March 20, 2020
  2. The Hindu, CMIE, April 10, 2020
  3. Constitution Of India, 1950, Art.21
  4. Constitution Of India, 1950, Art. 14

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