COVID-19 response by IGSSS and its Partners, 3rd Report

Situation Report
Originally published


Present Scenario – Macro Level

Lockdown extended: Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended India's nationwide coronavirus lockdown, the biggest in the world, until May 3, 2020. The three-week lockdown of the nation of 1.3 billion people, which started at midnight on March 25, was scheduled to end at midnight on Tuesday. As the lockdown extends, India reports more than 10,000 cases and nearly 340 deaths.

Poor Worst Hit: It is now very much apparent that India's poor are worst hit by the lockdown. We have already seen millions of daily wage labourers suddenly lost their jobs, forcing hundreds of thousands to walk back to home villages mostly on foot with a risk of their life. Others have been stranded in cities either on-road or in relief camps. Central and State Governments are providing free meals to help those for whom the lockdown means immediate hunger. Farmers have complained of a lack of workers to harvest crops while the grounding of thousands of trucks by the lockdown has hampered food transport. Farms, still the bedrock of the Indian economy, are heading into their most important harvest time of the year when many villages earn enough money to finance themselves for months to come. NGOs providing food and shelter: According to a reply submitted by the central government in the Supreme Court last week, 84.26 lakh people have been provided meals across the country during the lockdown, of which nearly 37% of people were fed by NGOs. In Gujarat, NGOs fed 93% of the people who were provided meals, while in Andhra the figure was 92%. Apart from providing meals to the needy, NGOs across the country also opened relief or shelter homes for people to take refuge. The analysis of the central government's reply shows that 10.37 lakh people in India took refuge in shelter homes provided by state governments and NGOs. Of these 10.37 lakh, or 39.14 percent, are staying in camps set up by NGOs. In Maharashtra, 83.56 percent of homeless people are in camps set up by NGOs. In Meghalaya, this figure is 95 percent. Apart from Meghalaya and Maharashtra, the list includes Haryana (41.7 percent), Andhra Pradesh (41 percent) and Punjab (40 percent). Overall, there are six states where NGOs provided shelter to more than 40 percent of the people in shelter or relief camps.1

In our report below, we also found that many IGSSS partners are providing a cooked meals to hundreds of people.

Rise in Gender Violence: As per the complaint received by the National Commission for Women (NCW), gender-based violence has recorded more than twofold rise during the nationwide Coronavirus lockdown period. The total complaints from women rose from 116 in the first week of March (March 2-8), to 257 in the final week (March 23-April 1). “…The cases of domestic violence are high in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, and Punjab,” says NCW chief Rekha Sharma. The main reason in the rise of domestic violence are that the men being at home are taking out their frustrations on women and most of them are refusing to participate in domestic work. Women are also confined within the four walls of the house and they cannot share their grief with anybody.2 Many NGOs have started a helpline to support women.

Rise in Child Abuse: Lockdown has turned out to be a difficult situation not only for women but also for children across India. This is indicative of the number of SOS calls that the Childline India helpline received since the lockdown. More than 92,000 SOS calls asking for protection from abuse and violence in 11 days of lockdown. Of the 3.07 lakh calls received by the ‘CHILDLINE 1098’ helpline for children in distress across the country between March 20-31, covering the first week of the lockdown, 30% were about protection against abuse and violence on children, said Harleen Walia, deputy director of Childline India. This comes to 92,105 calls.