Due to the sudden lockdown, India and several other countries are facing the dilemma of an unprecedented economic crisis approaching them. While it will have a little impact on the elite and entrepreneur class, it is surely going to wreak havoc on the middle class and poor people around the world. The Covid-19 crisis, however, comes with a silver lining for the state and central government employees. They will receive their salaries and respective allowances as per their pay scales and will, obviously, be saving their expenses related to their commute and office.
Pertinently, the Covid-19 crisis has already hit the people below the poverty line, especially the labourers and daily wagers. Several state governments along with the Central government have announced many schemes for the poor. The big question here is – how will the government at the state and central level ensure dispersion of Covid- 19 relief funds among the needy people.
Recently, Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal announced monetary support of Rs 5,000 to all construction workers affected due to the lockdown along with 7.5 Kg free ration to AAY, PR-S, and PR. Now, how does the government identify and distribute the relief material to these people as there is no official data on the number of daily wage workers in the state?
In May 2014, India had 179.6 million people below the poverty line on the record. In October 2015, the World Bank updated the international poverty line from $1.78 per day to $1.90 a day (Approx. Rupees 143 per day). However, needy people still don’t have BPL (Below Poverty Line) card with them. More than 40% of these people don’t even know the process of applying for BPL Card. Not only this more than 10% of recorded BPL card holders are far above than the line of poverty.
In such a crisis situation, it will be a big challenge for the central government to ensure that the people get all the benefits of the announced schemes. This can be easily done by making open data available on the official state government websites and also by preparing a committee which ensures the dispersion of essential items to the needy ones.