India has reported 425 coronavirus cases and 7 deaths, according to the latest figures by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. These figures are likely to rise keeping in mind India’s 133 crore population, poverty and the current poor affair of public health service and infrastructure, and the lowest testing rates in the world. Indians are preparing themselves for a tsunami situation if the virus spreads on a mass scale.
So when Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation on Thursday, 19th March, us, the worried and stressed people of the country were in search of measures to tackle the crisis. We were expecting announcements on the central government’s plan on countering the virus and preventing it’s spread, the stimulus economic packages for wage workers, small business, MNREGA, on the availability of sufficient number of medical apparatus and more. But, what did we get?
- Janata Curfew on 22nd March from 7am to 9pm
- Call to clap your hands, bang utensils or make any noise in a show of appreciation for medical, defences and others workers toiling at this time of need at 5pm
Expecting much more, for the time being, we took what they got. With no further questions, we obeyed the rules that were told to us and cheered our hearts out at 5pm. We appreciated your tiny step to prevent the virus. But then, the day was over. The fear was still there. We didn’t have any answers to all the questions eating us inside, the same ones that prevented us from falling asleep at night: “What is the government doing?,” “Do we have enough ventilators, isolation centres or even hospital beds for that matter?,” “Will we get enough food to eat?,” “How will I pay my small business workers or the rent to my house without working?”
No more PM ji. Now it’s time for action. We demand answers from you. We need to know what to expect in the future and what the government that the people of India elected is doing for us. So, here are some questions that we implore you to answer the next time you decide to address the nation –
- Will the government consider providing ₹6,000 per month to the daily wage earners?
- There is a need for more testing. We need better protective equipment for our healthcare professionals, more N95 masks, financial & other incentives for doctors and caregivers who are working under the most difficult circumstances. Does India have enough protective gear for the doctors fighting at the forefront of the virus?
- Till now 18,127 have been taken, which is the lowest in comparison to other countries while India has a much higher population. Is that enough? When will the government increase the number of daily tests?
- There is 1 isolation bed per 84,000 Indians. If the virus spreads, where will the government keep those infected?
- There is 1 doctor per 11,600 Indians. We can’t train more doctors that quickly. What is the government’s plan?
- Majority of states in the country are under lockdown, will the government do anything to help people & businesses who are facing the brunt of the economic downside of the Coronavirus pandemic? If so, why haven’t they announced it yet?
- Union Commerce Minister & Commerce Secretary for permitting exports of ventilators, surgical masks, face masks, raw material for masks/coveralls until 19th March, why was the GOI focussing on profit rather than its own citizens?
- There are artificial shortages and black marketing of hand sanitizers, face masks & even liquid soap. If manufacturing is still functional, are the current numbers enough for all people in India?
- What aid will the government provide to the daily wage workers, small businesses, MNREGA’s, etc.?
- A lot of people are out of their job and won’t be able to pay rent and afford other essential commodities. Will the government help them?
Hear the voice of the people and answer their questions. We are waiting.