And for a Friday at the end of Lockdown 3.0 and at the cusp of 4.0, some thoughts….. some musings…..
The most heartfelt and tear jerking images of the last few days is to see young children, men and women with all of their life belongings and savings as bundles on their heads, walking on the highways and Train tracks to get to their Village homes in UP, Bihar, MP, Rajasthan etc. etc. Where are the Union Leaders, politicians, local netas and all those middlemen who have all these years amassed money as labour contractors and political chieftains? People who made a mockery of the obsolete and inflexible Indian Labour laws, Workers Compensation Act 1923, Factories Act 1948, Payment of Wages Act 1936, with all those amendments, running into hundreds of pages, aided and abetted by State labour laws. Covid-19 has ripped open the underbelly of all these obsolete exploitative labour laws. Less than 10% of the workmen benefited – that too only in the Organised sector. Union Leaders and Politicians gained hugely and amassed wealth. Imagine, in the company that I had I worked, the workers were paid between 50 to 65,000 Rs per month and Overtime extra. Most were Income tax payers. Still the Union leaders, corrupt Politicians, the over zealous NGOs, would all be bargaining for more and more, stopping expansion and blocking productivity measures. The corrupt labour system is the root cause of these Migrant Labour problems. All these laws need to be comprehensively overhauled, predictable, humane and sustainable. New laws need to be framed to bring Global manufacturing into India.
All of us are undergoing the strictest lockdown in the World, which hopefully has allowed our Healthcare and related systems to plan and cope up with capacity and get to a stage of readiness to face the onslaught of the epidemic as and when we open up. Imagine, on 15th April we had a total of 10,815 cases and 353 Deaths and exactly one month later, under the strictest lock down conditions, we have today 78,003 cases and 2549 deaths. Statistically still better than most parts of the World. With no vaccines in sight yet, we must all continue to be extra vigilant and safe – face-mask at all times, Social physical distancing, washing hands with soap and water as many times as practical and get on with working life with the “New Normal”. Must get the Economy moving under lockdown 4.0.
These are tough times. But let’s be thankful we had a bountiful Rabi crop. Our food situation is excellent and with a normal monsoon predicted, we can revive the Economy. Let’s all work together, helping each other, caring for our poor and dispossessed, the Empathy way, the loving way, the SEEGOS way.