A nightmare for our poorest that we must wake up to
Covid has widened inequality and pushed many who were reeling after demonetization closer to the brink. Policymakers should act with urgency to shield them from further suffering
Have you experienced a nightmare when you suddenly fall, but before you find yourself in a ditch, you are up and relieved that it was merely a nightmare? I have. Unfortunately, this nightmare is a reality for many individuals and families, including children in the post-covid context. These are the people who anyway lived precariously, with one small push enough for a fall. Especially so in the post-demonetization world. They never had the luxury of a regular job or one that paid them legally- entitled wages or comfortable living conditions, but they at least had work opportunities that gave them some ready cash; children had schools which even at their worst offered peer company and some learning opportunities, and for many girls, the only window to connect with the outside world. At least in the short run, life has changed for a vast majority of such people, and, as Keynes said, “In the long run, we are all dead." This is what most studies, including ours, are showing.