By K. P. Kannan

Recognising the strong link between work and poverty, and the crucial role the working poor play in the functioning of the larger economy, it is imperative for the Indian government to roll out adequate measures in order to mitigate the adverse impact of the unprecedented economic inactivity. 

A disappointment of Himalayan proportions descended on me after I heard Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the nation on 24 March. He announced a complete 21-day lockdown throughout India, with just a four-hour notice, reminding me of a similar address in 2016 that had preceded demonetisation. Fearing the community spread of COVID-19, many state governments had already taken, suo motu, several drastic steps. Overall, I am certain there could be good reasons for this nationwide lockdown, but what was missing from the Prime Minister’s address was a sense of realism, and more notably, a sense of responsibility on the part of the Government of India towards its citizens in general and the working poor and their families in particular. Read more

IPSP lead author, prof. K P Kannan, is a development economist and a former director of the Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram, and was a member of the erstwhile National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector.