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22 April, 2021 07:05:20 PM
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Ways to implement lockdown and control Covid-19

A recent study by the Center for Policy Dialogue found that the ongoing Covid-19 epidemic has left more than three per cent of the country's workforce jobless, and nearly 1.5 million people have become impoverished
Anwar Faruq Talukder
Ways to implement lockdown and control Covid-19

Maintaining a balance of life and livelihood is one of the most complex and sensitive issues of the Covid-19 pandemic period. It is very clear that it will be difficult to win the Covid-19 war by adopting extreme methods. Life cannot be saved by thinking only of life, or balance of life and livelihood cannot be maintained by thinking only of livelihood. You have to think them in coordination, you have to think simultaneously. Because life and livelihood are a reflection of each other, there is no opportunity to see them in isolation. In order to maintain the balance of life and livelihood, we must learn from Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. Above all, in order to keep life and livelihood active, it is necessary to protect life as well as livelihood.

A recent study by the Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD) found that the ongoing Covid-19 epidemic has left more than three per cent of the country's workforce jobless, and nearly 1.5 million people have become impoverished. It also said that 6.7 per cent of those who lost their jobs were engaged in informal activities in urban areas and that by the end of 2021, the highest number of those involved in small and medium enterprises are likely to be unemployed. In this situation we need to think about how to balance livelihoods. We need to formulate and ensure proper implementation of short, medium and long term strategic action plans to prevent Covid-19 infection and economic, political and social catastrophe after the epidemic. We want to see its reflection in the upcoming budget. Although it will take more time to prepare the budget, many people are of the opinion that immediate fund management is necessary to deal with the situation.

However, in the face of a severe lockdown, there are a number of recommendations that can help us overcome this crisis in the short term. The biggest problems during the Covid-19 period are people who have lost their jobs, day labourers, shop workers, small and medium enterprises, transport workers, rickshaw pullers, beggars and other very poor and ultra poor people. In some cases, there are also low-income people who spend their days in low-income areas. They have no earning as they lost their job. Therefore, the purchasing power of that segment is near to zero. Despite having adequate food stocks in the country, they are not able to procure daily necessities including food items.

Two things can be considered here: one, the country has adequate food stocks; two, the government has enough money in the treasury. We have money but it can't go into circulation. In other words, this money has become idle. One can think of how to mobilize the immovable money. You can think of a way to get money to people. People can think of getting money from them by giving grants and/or loans.

Suppose the person who used to work and receive salary, the government can give the same amount of money that can be given to him as a grant (or a loan like ‘hasana’, he will repay when he becomes capable) or a loan. That could be for three months or six months. ‘Strict lockdown’ can be easily implemented by adopting this approach. And if the ‘severe lockdown’ is implemented for fifteen days or a month, it is expected that the Covid-19 epidemic will come under control. We can go back to normal life again. If it cannot be done all over the country at first, it can be done in an ad hoc basis. However, in that case, the work must be done with cent percent honesty. Its success can only be expected if it is done with tested honest people.

The writer is a banker and economic analyst.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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