Covid-19 crisis calls for universal delivery of food and cash transfers by the state -Jayati Ghosh, Prabhat Patnaik and Harsh Mander

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published Published on Apr 27, 2020   modified Modified on Apr 27, 2020

-The Indian Express

In these dire circumstances, it is essential for the state to directly provide the basic means of survival to anyone who needs it. This must be in both cash and kind.

The immediate need for universal food and cash delivery is by now obvious and urgent. Across the country, there are reports of people — migrant workers, local workers, peasants, pastoralists, fisherpeople, vendors, ragpickers, and the destitute — facing extreme hardship, even starvation, because their livelihoods have been extinguished by the lockdown. These have created further an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, as millions of households with depleted savings have no way to access food and other basic necessities over the coming weeks. The threat of infection from COVID-19 makes even harder their coping mechanisms.

In these dire circumstances, it is essential for the state to directly provide the basic means of survival to anyone who needs it. This must be in both cash and kind. Food access is the most important, but because of the closure of economic activity and the absence of any livelihood opportunity, this must be combined with cash transfers to tide over this period and the immediate aftermath. Food transfers must be provided for at least six months, and cash transfers for at least three months, though these can be extended depending on the period of lockdown.

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The Indian Express, 27 April, 2020, https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/coronavirus-india-lockdown-food-relief-for-poor-mass-exodus-essential-commodities-supply-6380515/


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