The industrial revolution came almost a century later to India as well as to other settlements of European Empires. The complete lockdown on all social, economic activities and personal life threw Indians to pre industrial revolution era. The Prime Minister claimed ‘to him life was more important than livelihood’ though after the first stage of the lockdown he also admitted that not only life but livelihood also (Jaan and jehan) is equally important. Partial restoration was confined to states that were lagging behind in the economic development. Economically advanced states were in severe grip of pandemic. As they were in red zone, economic activities could not be restored even partially.

The Indian economy was sagging for almost a year when the pandemic catastrophe hit and the Prime Minister imposed the harsh measure without consulting various wings of governance to find a better solution to combat with the pandemic so that the economy took the minimum battering. In any case the units producing essential and non essential goods remained in working for the entire lockdown period. They were allowed to keep running. The middle class did not give up its taste for varieties. Their purchases at groceries reflected their unchanged appetite and attitude.

The unorganized sector that provided ability to lower class their ability to buy their daily bread and thus contributed unspecified proportion to the national economy was the worst hit. The class of daily earners did not find their concerns in the original sudden imposition of the lockdown by the Prime Minister. It came as after thought through announcement of the huge financial provision for the charity programme of free food packets to the worst hit sections. The scheme was demolition of only asset that the worst hit class has their dignity. Twice through the outcome of the 2014 and the 2019 elections, they had told the world they yearned to retain their dignity and rejected the Congress enticement of huge charity packets. The Congress presidents, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi had promised the charity packages of Rs. 2.95 lakh crore and Rs. 3.20 lakh crore respectively. Narendra Modi had on the other hand promised no free lunch in 2014 and had nothing on his ledger to show as successful delivery of his electoral promise in 2019. Yet the Congress was reduced to 44 seats in 2014 and 52 seats in 2019.

Narendra Modi had not only refused to provide free lunch but also warned that everyone would need to work and pay for every service received. Yet he got the clear mandate not once but twice even with a clean slate in the second term election. The non organized class again indicated its preference for dignity by walking to reach their home villages at few thousand miles away without waiting for delivery of free food packages. Many met their end of life due to starvation, few collapsed due to fatigue and some were victims of vehicles on their way to their origins. They were not insane not to know that neither jobs nor food awaited them in their village. Then what prompted them to walk few thousand miles without transport or food and without even hope of return?

According to one estimate 5.5 million working class individuals with their families walked down to reach back the preindustrial era when poor could survive on scavenging for food. Now there would be no garbage dumps with leftover food as lockdown also forced people to adopt clean living. Nothing else can explain their exodus to the other end where there was little hope of survival.

The exodus of labour class with their families makes revival of economy even more hazardous task. The six advanced economy states are still in severe grip of the pandemic to be classified as the Red Zone areas that makes relaxations in the lockdown directive rather difficult process. Partial revival of the economy is difficult and more so with absence of labour. Their return becomes even more difficult as they have no fare to return by trains and getting free ride for entire family does not seem to be on card.

The main purpose for the lockdown was to end the possibility of mass contacts. Not only religious and social events were prohibited but also personal and social contacts were brought under control by restricting human movements outside their homes. The personal and mass public transport facilities were withdrawn. Yet bus transport or labour walking towards their home states was organized with or without sanction from the union government. The violation of main directive was condoned or overlooked as the humanitarian gesture. The main purpose of the lock down was thus defeated.

The government could get away as no case of infection among the poor marching in large groups through highways or travelling in bus without precautions was reported. Yet the governments threaten introduction of new rules of restrains for train, bus and air travel services restoration. The most intriguing aspect of the pandemic is its spread in economically advanced states. Ninety per cent cases are reported in six states. Though the government has not released the social and economic status of infected patients, indications are that patients from socially and economically weaker are very few. Contact between two uninfected humans without mask is not dangerous. Only infected persons expiate the infection to other human beings within close proximity. The Lockdown was imposed to contain the spread. Yet 55 cases on the day of imposition of harsh measure expanded to be over a hundred thousand after 60 days. The lockdown has thus not proved to be effective but the damage it inflicted to the economy would be immense and recovery would need ingenious plans. But then the Prime Minister tends to overlook the obvious and yet important aspects that flow from his remedies.