Day labourers and homeless people queue up to get free food during Photograph:( AFP )
These deeply deprived people will not be able to come out of this distressed conditions without support from society.
As India is now passing through tremendous stress due to COVID 19 crisis and the consequent prolonged lockdown, the most affected are those living below the poverty line, who constitute around 20 per cent of the national population ( around 250 million people).
Amongst these affected people, the deeply deprived persons constituting around 50 million of the national population consist of the physically disabled persons, visually impaired, hearing/speech impaired and mentally retarded persons, aged people in poor health, destitute women and section of self-employed people with no skill such as rag pickers.
Even in normal times, these deeply deprived people live in desperate conditions without knowing as to where their next meal would come from. These people have been surviving due to the freebies such as free ration etc. extended by the government, as well as, welfare pension such as old age pension etc. Without such freebies and pension support from the government, most of these people would have lost their lives due to poverty and sickness.
Need for support in the post-COVID 19 period :
During the COVID 19 crisis, central and state governments, non-government organisations, voluntary bodies and kind-hearted individuals have been doing their level best to support these deeply deprived 50 million people all over India, by extending support in various forms.
The governments can continue to extend support as given in the normal times after COVID 19 period, which would not be adequate to sustain the deeply deprived persons, in view of their extensive sufferings during the COVID 19 crisis.
In recent years, it is seen there is enormous interest amongst most of these deeply deprived people to at least educate their children, so that they can take up jobs to uplift their families. They have to be supported, as adequately educating the children of poor families is the best way of uplifting the poor and downtrodden families.
In the post-COVID 19 scenario, due to the income lost during the lockdown period, these deeply deprived people will not be able to come out of this distressed conditions without support from society.
Strategy for post-COVID 19 period :
A strategy has to be worked out by the people in the affordable income group, to help these 50 million people to survive.
Let each family identify one poor family who are part of the 50 million deeply deprived people and handover the sum deposited in the hundi to them every month.
If every family in the affordable income group would adopt such helpful attitude and practice, it will help the deprived people to find a way out for themselves and enable their children to undergo education to occupy the rightful place in the society as they grow up.
If an individual family in the affordable income group does not have the time or contact to identify such deeply deprived people, then they can coordinate with an NGO for providing to the needy people.
The ideal arrangement for the donor would be to contact the deprived family, personally talk to them in an encouraging way and provide them help so that the deeply deprived families would not get a feeling of isolation and gain confidence that they are part of the society.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL)