The COVID-19 crisis that has hit the whole of humanity and its impact is unprecedented in terms of scale, spread and spill having a far-reaching effect on the well-being of the population. The pandemic brought the entire nation to a halt leaving the government with no option other than a lockdown to contain the spread and posed immediate challenges on people’s health, lives and livelihood, while its long term effects are likely to be deep and wide-ranging. Its total cost in terms of human lives and drudgery is yet to be unfurled. The world is witnessing an economic downfall along with deepened health crisis.. Disruption in livelihoods and jobs with cascading social implications on a sizeable population is apparent. Isolation of infected individual and groups linked with social distancing has imposed an inordinate social and economic cost.
The existing policy triad – social distancing, quarantine and isolation of target population/area along with total lockdown have plunged the economy deeper into the crisis. Ceased production and consumption activities, crashing markets, closure of business leading to massive layoffs in the informal sector has created hardships before the working population moreover, the urban poor. Restriction on movement, lack of transport and sealed borders have interrupted the local- global value chain. It further added drudgery and plight for the migrant workforce of the cities. Almost two months-long lockdowns have badly affected even those also who are slightly above the poverty line and do not receive support under any welfare schemes targeted for poor households. This population of “non-poor- poor” in urban areas are also facing acute problems caused by Corona led lockdown.