5 min read

How corona may impact the Indian workforce dimensions!?

On 24th march 2020 the Hon’ble PM of India announced official lockdown of the economy for 21 days!
How corona may impact the Indian workforce dimensions!?

The Backdrop

India was doing fantastic till the end of 1stLockdown in the country! Suddenly, to hush the numbers of corona in a state, the respective governments also started encouraging the migrants to be transported to their native place! This created chaos in the country and huge crowd was gathered here and there on the travel centres! The success that was sought became a nightmare for the economy, as the fear forecasted in March by me turned into reality today. This transportation I think shall have been made a thoughtful process that ensured of no masses coming together at a place. This process shall have been initiated much before the lockdown has been announced, eliminating any chance of panic being created amongst the people at large especially the lower economic classes. This lockdown was seen and encashed by a segment of the country to fulfil their petty interest by instigating the lower economic class and creating it a havoc in the country. This segment has been a winner to an extent and only for a time being but in the long run to come the country as a whole is to suffer the damage done by that segment or a handful of people in the economy to serve their petty interests.

The Scenario

On 24th march 2020 the Hon’ble PM of India announced official lockdown of the economy for 21 days! This sudden announcement was an awe to many people especially the lower economic class, as they had no work and money in the future to come for months, as counselled to them by a segment of people. Thus, towards the end of the lockdown and onwards the Indian economy witnessed a hell of a people coming out in masses in various cities across India to reach their native place to cut down their costs and live! This panic sent shock waves not only to the government at the centre but also the state for tackling this situation. The efforts of the central government went the drain because the spread that was to be confined and let go, was now in open with no guarantee how much it is going to spread and in what dimensions! Initially the number counts were less since 2nd lockdown in April because of the possible reasons:

1.     Less number of samples were taken

2.     The biasness of universe from where the samples were taken

3.     Non – disclosure of travel history by people at large to duck the tests

4.     In some of the areas with high chances of contamination did not allowed the corona detection team to take samples

5.     Foolishness of some people by keeping mum while hiding masses of people in a small place making corona to develop strong hold like Markaz in Delhi

6.     I believe that the most vulnerable areas were not touched in depth and were sent to silence lately like Dharavi, Mumbai

Today India is witnessing 1 lakh (approx.) cases daily with a fear for it to touch 2 lakh a day (I believe) by the end of October. The areas which were corona free till the end of the 1st lockdown or the 2nd one, turned out to be a corona affected after the movement of the workforce. Thus, safely one can presume that no city is corona free as of now in India!

India is known to be a poor country, as the majority of people living in are from the middle class and lower class. Thus, a country where, people hardly are interested in the Mediclaim schemes, will be the worst hit if they get hit by corona!

This is so because the government hospital front:

1.     These are not sufficient in numbers

2.     The medical staff is in shortage

3.     A lot of hospitals are in bad shape

4.     At some hospitals as shown in media, staff do not care about the patient at all

Thus, it is a growing concern in people of lower economic class that going to a government hospital at large will end up in losing a precious life!

The private hospitals are too costly. The hospital cost (after capping imposed by GoI) in case of corona patient is shown in the table below:

Hospital rates for per day of admission (in Rs.)

Category of hospitals Moderate Sickness ISOLATION BEDS Including supportive care and oxygen Severe Sickness ICU without need for ventilator care Very Severe Sickness ICU with ventilator care (invasive/ non- invasive)
NABH accredited Hospitals (including entry level) 10,000/- (includes cost of PPE Rs. 1200/-) 15,000/- (includes cost of PPE Rs. 2000/-) 18,000/- (includes cost of PPE Rs. 2000/-)
Non-NABH accredited Hospitals 8,000/- (includes cost of PPE Rs. 1200/-) 13,000/- (includes cost of PPE Rs. 2000/-) 15,000/- (includes cost of PPE Rs. 2000/-)

Source: https://medicaldialogues.in/state-news/delhi/covid-19-private-hospitals-per-day-package-rates-in-delhi-fixed-details-66925

So, on an average the cost of one corona patient in Delhi in private hospital is 5 lakh, where hospitals like Max and Apollo has cost up to 10 lakh per patient. In such a situation a family of 4 members may get into troubled waters if all get hospitalised then it will cost them 20 lakhs at the least for two weeks! This cost of medication will wipe out the lower class financially, as they do not have enough money to even pay for the bill! These people do not earn sufficient to enrol in any Mediclaim plans and middle – income group family too may have a package of say 20 lakh out of which one have to shell 8 lakhs out of pocket due to cost which is not included in the cover.

Furthermore, more shocking is when Government Hospital(s) issues fake certificate to the migrant labour workforce in violation to the guidelines issued by the ICMR (https://medicaldialogues.in/news/health/hospital-diagnostics/govt-hospital-issues-fake-covid-free-certificates-govt-to-probe-allegations-69655). Now, under such circumstances one can think of the possible huge wipe out of the labour workforce in the economy. This will show severe negative impact on other types of workforce in the economy as well.

The Endnote

Hereby, the labour class of the workforce in India is going to be the worst hit of this corona pandemic on the following count:

1.     This segment is economically too weak, many are daily wagers

2.     No chance of work from home, as many segments in the economy has developed this technology and SOP’s for this

3.     They do not have sufficient food to eat three times a day then forget about immunity boosting diet and medication

4.     High chance of infection due to living conditions

5.     Low level of awareness w.r.t. corona

6.     If lone bread weaver is down with corona the whole family is in danger

7.     They cannot get government hospital for treatment, as in Delhi it has been witnessed that they are shoo away by the staff by giving some reason and the horrifying tales shown in media discourage them for hospitalisation.

8.     They cannot afford treatment at private hospital

9.     Their movement from native state to the other state for work will make them open for infection

10. If one move to a least costly private hospital then also will be trapped in debt spiral, which is equal to death

Thus, the irony is if one survives the corona attack then might die of financial turmoil!

In my view it will take another year for this COVID – 19 to get tamed, by that time India may witness a sharp fall in labour workforce, as the number of deaths shall be not in thousands or lakhs but in crores. This is so because this segment is the most neglected segment in the country. In return, this will make it tough for the secondary and primary sectors to rise above the losses accumulated during the corona time! This labour supply shock implications will be seen in all dimensions and levels of the economy!