On 23rd March 2021, the centre announced the lockdown, a measure taken by the government in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic which had just begun to ravage the country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asserted that ‘India will be put down under a lockdown” from the next day. Explaining the term, PM Modi said it will be stringent than the one day Janta Curfew which was imposed a day earlier i.e on 22 March 2020. In a special address to the nation, PM Modi instructed the countrymen to stay wherever they are.
Lockdown meant that the entire country came to a halt. offices, educational institutions were closed, transport services were suspended and flights were grounded. An unprecedented measure was taken to break the infection chain and to stop the spread of the covid-19 virus.
23 March 2021 Wednesday marked the first anniversary of the pandemic lockdown, which witnessed multiple extensions and finally ended with phased lockdowns, let us revisit the events as they happened:
(i) When the lockdown was first announced by the centre, the country reported only 500 cases and about 50 deaths due to the coronavirus, and today the tally stands at 11.6 Million, as per the figures underlined by the Union Health Ministry. The death toll is 160,166.
(ii) the nationwide lockdown had restricted all the movements, except the essential services which one could avail in a disciplined and scheduled manner. all kind of establishments, including governmental, educational, private and commercial were asked to remain closed during the lockdown.
(iii) Experts say that due to the imposition of lockdown, the growth rate of the pandemic slowed down. as per the data, the doubling rate of covid-19 cases, before the first phase of the lockdown was about 3 days snd further improved a doubling every 6.2 days by 18th April 2020.
(iv) The lockdown got extended for another 19 days after the announcement of a scheduled date, followed by an announcement of an extension of another 14 days till the 17th of May. the final phase of the lockdown got extended for another 14 days until May 31.
(v) Post the extension of dates, a phased reopening named ‘Unlock 1’ began as the lockdown started to show the impact on the country’s economy. the GDP fell from 8.2 per cent in January-March 2018 to 3.1 per cent in 2020.
(vi) While the lockdown could be seen as a transformative period for many industries including OTT platforms, health industries, e-commerce sectors; the worst hit was witnessed for sectors like travel&tourism, hospitality and many businesses suffered huge losses.
(vii) The worst part of the lockdown was the tragic suffering of the Migrants, which the whole nation and its countrymen witnessed. a massive exodus of migrants was seen due to the shutdown of factories were they worked and millions of migrant workers marched towards their home, some walked while some of them cycled hundreds of kilometres to their native villages, which triggered huge criticism and outrage by the people towards the centre.