I pen this letter as a responsible citizen of our country. It is indeed trying times for the world at large and our country in particular. The Covid-19 virus has caught mankind unawares. It is testing our abilities as a state and a society to overcome such a health emergency. At the outset, I would like place on record my appreciation for the tireless work carried out by health professionals and government servants braving all dangers to their personal health. The Government of India and various state governments have acted as swiftly as possible in trying to contain the virus.
Experts suggest that we are still at Stage 2 and all measures taken by the Government to prevent it from slipping into stage 3 is welcome. I am sure our countrymen will understand the enormity of the situation and we shall overcome this collectively at the earliest.
As you would be aware, more than 90% of our work force is in the informal sector who make their daily ends meet. If we consider the workforce even in the ‘formal’ sector that does not enjoy standard employee benefits, this could be more than 95%. They are our construction workers, agriculture and manual labourers, fishermen, MSME workers and so on.
I write this letter to urge the Government to not lose sight of the plight of these UNSUNG HEROES who toil hard to power our economy and build our nation. The ‘Economic Response task force’ set up by the Government needs to address the issue with alacrity.
Economic experts have suggested slew of measures including tax breaks, deferred credits and grants. These measures would benefit the industrialists and employers, which is essential.
But the taskforce should ensure that there is no drop in wages of our labour force. It should also consider direct cash transfer to this most vulnerable populace to enable them tide over this crisis. While human lives are in danger and all steps need to be taken to save them, the fear of virus should not be compounded by the fear of loss of livelihood. I would once again urge the Government to take swift steps to save the livelihood of millions of work force in our country.