There was a complete lockdown imposed in our country. Not only our country but the entire world is facing this pandemic. The situation in our country became worse as we faced a shortage of oxygen, ventilators, and beds in hospitals. People are affected physically, mentally, as well as financially. Mostly the poor section of society took a severe hit. The government tried its best to help the needy ones, many schemes were implemented, free medical facilities, cash, food, etc. Apart from the government, many other people also helped in ways they could.
CHALLENGES FACED BY PEOPLE DURING THIS PANDEMIC
The main challenge faced by people is related to their health issues, as due to the continuous increase in the number of cases demand of medical facilities were increased there was very shortage of oxygen supply, shortage of beds in hospitals and lack of medicines. Many people died due to poor medical services in India. People were mentally depressed because no one had imagined that this situation to take such a drastic turn for the bad. People who were living far away from their homes missed the cremation ceremony of their dear and near ones.
Education was also very much affected as schooling got shifted into the online mode, which is made things difficult to tackle. Board exams were also cancelled. Students were affected psychologically, physically, and neurotically due to continuous study through online mode.
INITIATIVES TAKEN BY THE GOVERNMENT
One of the members of Lok Sabha suggested to the government that instead of using 35,000 crores on vaccination, the government should invest the money in improving the health infrastructure in the country. Sanjeev Kumar Singari, a member of YSRCP said that “vaccination is a waste of money as universal vaccination is neither possible nor warranted, he also said that vaccination saves us only for 6-9 months after that 35,000 will be evaporated.”
The government had started Svasthya Suraksha Nidhi Fund, to look after people’s health issues. From April 1, 2021, all the budgets related to health were implemented in the health system. The government had also announced to create 1.5 lakh health and wellness care centers already 66,000 have been set up. 35,000 of them became functional during the pandemic, as said by MR.Vardhan. In 2020-21 RS. 94,452 crore was estimated for health budget, during pandemic this budget increased over 2.23 lakh crore. On the other hand, RS. 64,180 crores had been set aside from PM Aatmnirbhar Svastya Bharat Yojana for the next six years. Many public health labs at the block level are to be set up.
E.T. Mohammad Basheer said that healthcare should be the cheapest so the common people may easily afford it. Janta dal united said that the situation of our country is getting improve. Self-sufficient ventilators, PPE kits, testing centers, 1.5 million beds, 80,000 ICU within the last year 2410 labs had been set up. Om Birla, speaker of Lok Sabha said to all secretariat employees to contribute Rs. 45 lakhs to PM-Cares fund, also he asked to share all the details of the relief work done by all the members and told them to stand with people in this crisis it is the duty of every parliamentarian.
Mainly the govt. focused during the pandemic, to save the life of people without worrying about the fiscal deficit. Govt also increased the fund of MNREGA capital expenditure Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna and free food for more than 80 crore people. Project O2 for India is also one of the initiatives started by govt. to meet raising oxygen demand during this pandemic this project will provide enough oxygen in the future also. Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package of RS. 2.76 lakh crore, cooking gas for 8 crore families, cash transferred of 40 crore, farmers, women, elderly, and needy ones.
Some schemes to those who have lost their children, parents, and family earner due to COVID-19
- Family Pension under Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) – Under this scheme pension will be given to the family for a good standard of living. Pension will be given to those whose family earners have died due to covid-19. 90 % of the wages earned by the family earner will be given to the families in the form of pensions. This pension will be given till the 24th of March 2022.
- Employees Provident Fund Organization – Employees Deposit Linked Insurance Scheme (EDLI) – This scheme has been enhanced and liberalized. The amount of insurance has increased from 6 lakh to 7 lakh. Even the insurance will also be given to those who have been changed their jobs in the last 12 months preceding his death. About 6.53 crore families will be awarded by this scheme.
- The government also announced to give Rs. 4 lakhs to those who have died due to covid. On their death certificates, it should be clearly mentioned that this person dies due to covid.
Under this scheme, money will be given to those families who have lost their “sole bread earner.” Victims can claim compensation under section 12 (iii) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
- Children who have lost their both parents will be compensated under PM-Cares for children Scheme. Children will get a monthly stipend and RS.10 lakh when they turn 23.
- Free education will be given to all children who have lost their parents. The loan will also be given for higher studies; their interest will be paid by Govt itself.
- Free health insurance up to 18 years of age of RS.5 lakh from Aayushman Bharat.
- Children will be admitted to Kendriya Vidyalaya School, if the child is studying in a private school his fees will be paid by govt. from PM-Cares for Children fund. Along with free notebooks, books, uniforms, etc.
- The scholarship will be given to children for their higher studies.
It can be concluded that India is going through a very tough time due to the spread of Coronavirus. This disease is declared a pandemic by WHO. During these difficult times, the government is trying its best to come out of this situation. People are getting unemployed. Many of them lost their jobs, children are becoming malnourished as mid-day meal is also stopped due to shut down of schools. For all these issues government giving compensation to all those who have lost their parents, children, sole bread earner of the family. Many schemes were launched by the government to compensate victims. Being a citizen of this country it’s our prime responsibility to help others in any way we can. Also, follow all the rules and regulations imposed by the government.
Author’s Name: Umra Khan (Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi)
 https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/parliament-proceedings-live-march-17-2021/article34088175.ece/amp/ last accessed on 23rd June
 Section 12 (iii) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005