The Covid-19 pandemic has other countries racing to implement drastic preventive measures, and India has been no exception.

On March 24th, 2020, India initiated the world’s largest lockdown, with a population of over 1.3 billion. As of June 28th, 2020, the nation has been under a nationwide lockdown, with higher-risk states such as Maharashtra, Delhi, and Karnataka, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu implementing their own separate lockdowns and government orders for their respective states and capital cities.

Aim of the India Lockdown

The major goal of the Indian lockdown is to reduce the spread of the coronavirus and to reduce the death rate caused by it. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has described the lockdown as being an important tool to stop the spread of this deadly virus. The purpose of the lockdown is to increase social distancing, reduce contact between individuals, and maintain a clean and safe environment.

Results of the India Lockdown

The crisis response and policy implemented in India has helped to keep the number of Covid-19 cases relatively low by international standards. The imposed curfew resulted in an economic slowdown and the numbers in the country’s unemployment rate increased significantly. Additionally, the lockdown made millions of people lose their jobs and resulted in an increase in poverty levels.

Although, the imposed lockdown by the Indian Government in 2020 saved millions of people from the deadly Coronavirus, there were severe economic and social issues that Indians started to face as an aftermath of the prolonged Lockdown.

Adverse Impact of India Lockdown

The Indian lockdown had a large impact on the Indian economy and the welfare of its citizens. Here are some of the issues that emerged as a result of this lockdown:

  1. Increase in Poverty Level:
    The lockdown has had devastating consequences on India’s already fragile economy. It has pushed over 20 million people, who were already living in extreme poverty, further below the poverty level. The spread of the virus has slowed down even more poverty with an already fragile economy.

  2. Increase in Unemployment:
    The prolonged lockdown imposed by the Indian government caused widespread job loss in India. According to Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy’s (CMIE) surveyed data, around 122 million people have lost their jobs since the lockdown began in March 2020.

  3. Decrease in GDP Growth:
    The Indian economy is among the worst-hit economies in the world, with a contraction in GDP estimated at 4.2 percent for the period of April to June 2020. This is in sharp contrast to the positive GDP growth of 6.1 percent for the same period in 2019.

  4. Impact on Education System:
    Due to the nationwide lockdown, educational institutions in India have been significantly impacted. Not only has the lockdown caused the closure of schools and universities but it also led to a dramatic decrease in educational attainment as well as job opportunities for college graduates.

  5. Mental Health Impact:
    The lockdown has led to an increase in stress and anxiety among the citizens of India due to the disruption of daily routines and socialization. The nationwide mental health crisis continues to be an issue since healthcare services have been cut due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Fragile Healthcare System

The resources and facilities available to India’s healthcare system were already stretched before the pandemic with nearly 10.5 million hospital beds in a country of 1.3 billion people.

The lockdown put a strain on health care providers who could not keep up with the amount of people needing care at the same time. Additionally, the severe shortage of medical supplies and the inability to access essential medication and treatment due to a weak distribution network meant that many were left without access to the medical care they needed.

Moreover, the lack of resources and healthcare facilities led to overcrowding, particularly in rural areas where access to healthcare has been limited for a long time. Furthermore, healthcare workers such as doctors, nurses and cleaners were also facing a shortage of resources, including needed supplies such as masks, gloves, and other protective gear.

The coronavirus pandemic has had catastrophic effects across the globe. With a population of over one and a half billion, India has been dealing with the impact of the virus in terms of health and socio-economic fallout since its nationwide lockdown began in March 2020.

The country is facing unprecedented uncertainty and a host of hardships, with a fragile health care infrastructure, shortages of medical supplies and resources, an increase in poverty and joblessness and a weakening of the education system.

Despite all this, India’s citizens remain resilient and have found solace in the social distancing and hygiene regulations that are being encouraged by the government. The government and citizens have also shown great unity and trust in the national campaigns for preventative measures like wearing masks, gloves and most significantly staying at home.

India is currently in the process of easing restrictions and gradually reopening up the economy, but only time will tell if the measures taken will prove to be effective in tackling the impact of the pandemic.