The poor people are now begun to be affected as there is the world’s largest lockdown been imposed without a readily available cushion for backup.
On Wednesday, few centers have managed to function were in front of it long queues took form. This is because as many of the social, religious groups and non-government organizations are not able to operate, hence disrupting the distribution of food among the poor.
The assemblages in view of the coronavirus contagion brought out the enormity of the problem for the poor to face but also it possessed as a health hazard to the people.
On Monday morning, a similar shutdown effect was seen in Delhi, after which on Tuesday 8pm the Prime minister had announced the 21day lockdown over the country.
After the lockdown came into full force on Tuesday people who were living a hand to mouth existence in Delhi for a prolonged period by going without food. After the factories closed down several numbers of migrant workers poured out on the streets of the capital.
On Wednesday, the Union Cabinet had a meeting. It was decided that in advance the rations for three months would be provided under the food security act and the monthly quota of the subsided grains that is wheat at rs.2 and rice at Rs.3 per kg is increased to 2kg and 7kg, respectively, under the food security scheme.
To address the hunger of the marginalized, the Centre has not announced any other immediate projects other than the above two measures. But it appears that the buck has been passed to the states for the time being instead by the Centre.
In the cabinet meeting, the media was briefed by Prakash Javadekar who said, “The government is keeping an eye on the situation. State governments are announcing their measures.” In response to the specific questions posted for what steps are being taken to support the poor and the migrant workers.
The minister said “The government is keeping a watch. But the had been working in Delhi, they must be staying somewhere. They should stay there only.”
Since Tuesday, Harsh Mander, who is a social activist, he has been tweeting photos of the poor queuing up for the food during the lockdown. He had tweeted ”Frightening reports are coming in of mass hunger among homeless and single migrants in the city. Work and religious food charities have collapsed.”
If NGOs are supplying food in some shelters, thousands are gathering in desperation, risking mass infection.
Mander on Wednesday said a large section of the beggars who are part of the Yamuna Pushta were many homeless people were present had to go without food on Tuesday. These people have been surviving on benevolence and casual work which is not available for the past few days. He told that the situation on Wednesday was the same across the country as no preparations or arrangements have been done before imposing the lockdown.
He said, usually, religious charity institutions also provide food to these people. But that has stopped. Now some NGOs are providing food, but there are huge queues. The situation is catastrophic across the country. The government should have planned before putting people under lockdown.
On Wednesday Mander tweeted we cannot allow a virus safety protocol saving only the middle class who have homes and secure jobs and force people to stay hungry, walk hundreds of km to their villages, police beating them”.
The migrant labourers working there have to look for other ways to come back home as they are left with no other options with small factories closing down their operations.
On Wednesday in search of the transport to head back to their native places, hundreds of such people were spotted on Delhi’s streets. Many from the group were even hopeful that they would be able to get some conveyance for their rest of the journey once they cross the Delhi border.
In 2012-13 it has been found that 1.5 lakh families were homeless in urban areas whereas in rural areas 6.69 lakhs were in destitute or living on alms was seen in the socio-economic caste census which was conducted by the central government that had been collected in the household data.
Reetika Khera who teaches economics at IIM Ahmedabad said that stadiums should be opened for a large number of migrants and day labourers who are suffering without the food and shelter in regard to the information given by the reports.
She also stated that the government must immediately make stadiums and community halls available to them as shelters, provide free ration so that they can set up self-managed langars or community kitchens. These kitchens can also make food packets for those who are without food and work.