First publised on 2020-07-26 19:24:49
People are talking about the state of the nation in the pandemic. While some people understand that the daily jump in cases, as reported by the media, is more due to increased testing being done now (up from 1 lakh tests daily a month ago to more than 4.5 lakh cases now), others are scared that the unlock has resulted in the rapid spread of the virus. There are still others who believe that it is a combination of both.
But people are mainly worried about two things - first, the state of the economy and second, the loss of several months in the academic calendar and the mental effect the continued closure of schools and colleges is having on the minds of students. They say that online classes can never make up for classroom study and other extracurricular activities including sports that the children are missing. They say that they see behavioral changes in children cooped up at home for the last 5 months.
People say that without immediate and voluminous investment by the government in infrastructure projects, the economy will collapse. They say that the cascading effect of such investments will kick start the economy. People do not want doles but want government intervention in the form of investments.
They point to empty shops and malls, businesses closing down and people losing their jobs to say that without current income, most people are dipping into savings just to make ends meet. This, they say, is a sure sign of catastrophic distress. People say it will take more than one year for things to get back anywhere near normal and by that time many more businesses will go down under and many families will be reduced to penury.
People say that the government must not lose time to address the problems of the economy. They are also saying that the Rs 20 lakh crore economic package announced earlier has not done anything real. They want the government to intervene is a productive way.
On the other hand, most parents, though worried about the loss of academic days, are not sure whether they will send their students to school in classes were to resume any time soon. They feel that unless a vaccine is out, it will be very risky for children to go to school.
But they do not agree with the Chief Economic Advisor K Subramanian's view that the next economic package should be released after the vaccine. They say it will be too late by then.