COVID-19 spares none 

COVID-19 spares none 

COVID-19 has left no field of life, from work and travel, to playing sports or planning a holiday, untouched. The impact is more terrible on poor and vulnerable in our society.
Lockdowns hit the poorest first and affected them in the worst possible manner by endangering their daily income. In the absence of a well-functioning social security system, their vulnerability to hunger and disease increases significantly.
Healthcare facilities are woefully inadequate for Jammu and Kashmir’s large population. In such a scenario, the possibility of an acute crisis, which will impact all sectors much harder, cannot be ruled out.
The adverse effect on daily wage earners and small traders is surely going to add to the depth of the crisis. The prospect from all angles looks gloomy. However, there is a small way out and it in reducing the impact by ensuring some minimum basic income, the efficient management of the distribution of food, or a scheme for loan waivers since many poor people in rural areas are likely to be already tied to microfinance credit. We have good chunk of population in informal sector and hence have no social security cover. While challenge of tackling the economic aftermath of the pandemic is fearfully difficult, it can be reduced in impact.
As is the first order priority during a pandemic, government is trying its best to ensure physical distancing of people suspension of all public traffic and inter-State bus services, closure of public places, schools and colleges, cessation of all non-essential activity and street-level monitoring.
The government has also announced to release month’s pensions to give reprieve to the retired class. It also decided to immediate release of one month’s wages in respect of all daily wagers “so that they do not face any difficulty due to the current situation.”
This is besides announcement of releasing advance ration for April and May to all ration card holders and one month’s ration for Mid-Day Meals to be distributed in advance amongst the parents of eligible children. Also “in view of the difficulties being faced by them”, ration packets are being immediately distributed among the destitute and slum dwellers.
The measures are in right direction but the administration shall also be cogent that the class of people that is being taken care of is not the only vulnerable part of the society. Besides these sections of the society a large chunk needs to be provided a reprieve such as poor labourers, auto-rickshaw and other drivers, street vendors, houseboat owners, ponywallas  etc.