Life versus livelihood, tough decision

8 July, 2020 12:00 AM printer

The COVID-19 pandemic is one of the greatest challenges to face society in generations. None could have foreseen the multi-faceted fallout situations arising out of the pandemic. Who could have predicted that even big businesses will be incapable to face only a couple of months of shutdown? As a result of the general holiday, many private enterprises earned nothing during the economic shutdown. So, businesses gave their employees leave without pay, with the hope of saving money if they stopped paying employee salaries. That is the way that the employers cut some costs. But still they have to pay rent of their office or outlet premises, which the landlords will not excuse for three months.

In all these calculations, nobody thought about the workers who were sent on leave without pay. They too have families to feed and house rents to pay. These families failed to make ends meet once their only source of income was cut off. They had no savings to fall back on, nothing to help meet even their basic expenses. Therefore, many of the working class people decided to send their families back to their ancestral village homes, while the bread earners themselves shifted to smaller or shared accommodations to cut recurring cost of house rent.

There is no way of knowing when things will be back to being as they were before Covid-19. The government has to make crucial decisions based on trade-offs between considerations for the economy and livelihood or health safety and life! Choosing one over the other is a two-way sword, cutting both ways no matter which decision is taken. The economy or life of the people – either way we lose some!

In the meanwhile, there must be financial assistance programmes to help the working class people survive through the ordeal of Coronavirus pandemic. Sooner or later this will be over, but we need to help each other live through this pandemic for the time being. We need to forget the divisions within societies which separate people from people, and come forward to help the government and the people. Once we have conquered the pandemic, which we eventually will, then all hands will be needed on board to rebuild the economy to its former glory.