At a time when India has been reporting over 3 lakh coronavirus cases and a rise in deaths daily due to it, the country might be heading towards a 'serious livelihood crisis'.
Economist Jean Dreze has said that the working class is going to be hit the hardest amid the COVID-triggered financial crisis and restrictions imposed by the states. He said that the fear of the infection has gripped the entire nation which will slow down the revival of economic activities.
Multiple reports have pointed to the exhausted healthcare facilities in the country. Patients are queuing up outside hospital premises looking for beds. Meanwhile, these facilities have been raising an alarm over the shortage of critical medical supplies. Such incidents have created a sense of panic among the citizens pushing them to not let their guards down amid the second wave.
"Despite mass vaccination, there is a serious possibility that intermittent crises will continue for a long time, perhaps years," Jean said, reported The Times of India.
Comparing the situation to last year, he pointed out that many people have exhausted savings and are under debts. Those who were able to borrow money to tide through the crisis, last year, would not be able to do the same this time. Moreover, in the absence of relief packages, citizens have been left on their own. "In short, we are heading towards a serious livelihood crisis."
According to the noted economist, the government's denial about collapsing healthcare services and refusal to admit the probability of community transmission for long have been the reasons for a deadlier second wave. He stated that misleading data has been routinely floated to avert reactions.
"Turning India into a $5 trillion economy by 2024-2025 was never a feasible target, and it is a useless target in any case. The function of this target is to pander to the super-power ambitions of the Indian elite," he said.
Jean Dreze, the Belgian-born Indian economist, has worked on several developmental issues, including hunger, famine, and gender disparity. He is also a former member of the UPA's National Advisory Council.