COVID-19 Situation in India

By Debanjan Chakrabarti, Vice-President (International Relations), Construction Workers Federation of India CWFI

ILO Report on 07.04.2020
More than four out of five people (81%) in a global workforce of 3.3 billion are currently
affected by full or partial workplace closures.

Migrant workers of India
By estimate, some 17 million Indians were living outside the country in 2017 and around
3,19,000 went abroad as unskilled migrants. In the wake of sudden declaration of lockdown of the country, which had no plan for thousands of migrant workers working all over
the country, we saw no provision for the needs, no contingency measures for the food, shelter, health, or their families. Thousands were evicted from their temporary shelters, without money and food, desperately tried to reach home – villages and small towns – from wherever they were working. Tens of thousands of migrant workers trekked hundreds of kilometers, with many of them dying of hunger

India Government Budget for Health & Family Welfare –
2017-18 – Rs. 531140 million / 53114 crores rupees.
Rs. 408.00 per citizen per year.
2020-21 – Rs. 650110 million / Rs. 65011 crores
Rs. 500.00 per citizen per year.

Public Health spending –
2008-09 to 2018-19 – it is between 1.2% to 1.5% of GDP (Both Central Government & State
Government allocation in their budget)
Whereas in other countries it is 3.4% – 9% of GDP for public health.

In India per lakh (one hundreds thousand people) in different states (provinces):
COVID 19 affected –

Persons – 42,836 (as on 04/05/2020)
Recovery – 11,762 (as on 04/05/2020)
Death – 1,389 (as on 04/05/2020)

Here, a list of places of different states with Red Zone, Orange Zone and Green Zone circulated
by the Government of India. This will make everybody understood the real situation in India.

In India per 10 million – 6 died
In Spain per 10 million – 4960 died
In USA per 10 million – 1670 died
In Italy per 10 million – 4410 died
In Britain per 10 million – 3050 died
In Sweden per 10 million – 2170 died
In Bangladesh per 10 million – 9 died
In Sri Lanka per 10 million – 3 died
In Pakistan per 10 million – 10 died
In Kenya per 10 million – 3 died
In Tanzania per 10 million – 2 died
In Nigeria per 10 million – 2 died

One estimates suggests the 300 million Indian could be infected by the virus by July and fatalities could be anywhere from 2 to 3.5 millions

Effect on Economy
The unemployment rate reached 24%. Within March 2020. about 1500 crores dollars in capital was moved out of India. The Apparel Industry claimed that it has lost more than one thousands crores
rupees (10 billions). The readymade Garments industry in India has lost about one billion
dollars during thislock down period.

Who stands by the side of migrant workers
Interstate migrant workers are in serious economic crisis due to 40 days lockdown in different
states. Millions of workers are being fed by CITU, CPI(M), DYFI, SFI & AIDWA and other
progressive NGOs. Still it is not enough. Though the Government of India issued a circular to the States to provide free ration to the people, this has not been implemented properly in the all States except Kerala. Astonishingly, the Government of India did not take any responsibility to provide food and money to feed these migrant workers and the informal sector workers in different states.

CWFI has taken up the issue of providing financial relief to the Construction Workers from the
Construction Workers Welfare Fund in each State. Due to our pressure some State Government issued some financial benefit for two / three months – Rs. 1000.00 to Rs. 3000.00 only per workers. But free ration to all the workers for 6 months was not implemented by other states other than Kerala.