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Reader View: It will take India at least 3 years to return to pre-Covid life and work

YourTurn is our new weekly feature in which ThePrint's readers share their views or opinions in response to the question of the week.

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New Delhi: Lockdown 4.0 has already kicked in, and we are all making our way gradually towards exiting it — shops are opening, cars are back on the roads and many offices are up and running. In this context, the question for our readers this week was, ‘As India exits lockdown, how soon can we return to life and work as before?’

Here are their answers:

‘Work and life would never be same as before’

There is no definite time frame which one can give to answer this question. Whether you say 6 months or 3 years, all is based on certain assumptions. According to me it will at least take a year to resume normalcy but work and life will never return to the pre-crisis period. Covid crisis has changed our habits, our perspectives, has exposed capitalism, and a lot more. Travel will reduce and so will trade. ‘Atamnirbharta’ (self-reliance) is the new way to go. Work and life would never be the same as before but normalcy will be achieved in 15-20 months — Kartik Garg

‘We will need to unlearn and relearn cohabitation’ 

As India exits lockdown, residents of different zones will react differently towards return to normal life and work. For many, especially in Green and Orange zones, it will be within a month. For Red zone, both residents and business, it could be the rest of the year and/or for some life will never be the same again. In general, the world will be a different place and we will need to unlearn and relearn cohabitation from a new perspective — Shehla Raza

‘More likely we will stick to the changes’

Normalcy won’t be restored until a vaccine is developed and people are immunised at a mass level. Till then, we’ll have to live with Covid-19 and a new ‘normalcy’. The period after lockdown till the development of a vaccine will be interesting as it will define how the ‘new normal’ is actually going to be. It will answer whether WFH will become a norm or not, whether educational institutions will opt for online classes more frequently or not and many other lifestyle questions. In fact, it is more likely that we never return to life as before as we might just stick with some of these new changes and not look back — Shubhankar Tiwari

‘It will take India at least 3 years to return to life as before’

India simply cannot return to life and work as before. Our doubling rate may have declined but more cases are still pouring in, social distancing has become a joke and people are acting ignorant. As WHO said, we may have to live with Covid-19 and that’s true, but given the size of our population and lack of adherence to rules, India is more likely to surpass the US within a month or two of exiting lockdown. Making alternate working days for employees, crowd control in heavily crowded places by policing, aggressive testing and making available more healthcare items are some of my suggestions that may help. To answer the actual question, to return to life and work “as before”, it will take India a minimum of 3 years — Tanzeel Geelani

‘Only way forward is to get accustomed to a new world’

To be realistic, life won’t be the same as before in the post Covid-19 world. The impact it has had on the world order is tremendous. Whether we talk about international or national policies, we’re looking at a massive overhaul in our way of living. The only way forward is to get accustomed to a new lifestyle and a new world, perhaps a better one —Pritam Upadhya

‘Have to live with periodic cycles of lockdown in near future’

A blunt answer to the question can be, “Not anytime soon!”. Two developments can remedy this situation: Either we find a cure or vaccine for the virus or develop herd immunity towards it. Both the scenarios look distant at present. India being a developing economy, cannot stay in lockdown for an extended period, and with no lockdown, the pandemic will overwhelm the healthcare system. Hence, in the near future, we will have to live with periodic cycles of lockdown and opening of the country as we make our way towards either of the two permanent solutions — Swapneel Pathak

‘Crisis has unveiled shortcomings that India needs to work on’

It’s time we accept our new normal because life, as we know, has changed post the outbreak of Covid-19. Companies like Twitter have already taken a step towards it by allowing their employees to work from home forever. Some jobs may become obsolete giving rise to new gig jobs. Online streaming platforms already have an edge over multiplexes. A crisis like this has unveiled our shortcomings on which India needs to work on in the near future by making necessary reforms. That is the silver lining in this macabre black mirror real-life episode — Vandana Kumari

‘There’s no returning to normal now, only a new one’ 

There is no returning to “normal”, there is only a new normal. After every great event affecting humanity, life never really returns to what it was, but mutates into something new. This can be seen in nations after war, after economic or civil crises, or as in this case — a pandemic. Humans are very quick to adapt to new realities, and we will all very quickly adapt to this reality too. We will all think “Things are back to normal.”, even though that would not be “normal”. And after we face the next attack, we will ask ourselves again — “When will things get back to normal?” — Unaware that it already is — Sai Tejas

‘People won’t do anything they would on a normal weekend’

We as a country had no idea what hand sanitizers were, today every corner of the world is facing shortages. I feel even if the government comes out tomorrow saying everything will open from tomorrow, people won’t do anything they would do on a normal weekend like go out in crowded places. Dinners, partying and many social events would witness few people. People are more vigilant now and some have gone paranoid to the extent where they wash their groceries with soap. Until and unless there is pure assurance that the devil outside is not dead, the corona Life will be the new normal life — Nikhil Chouhan

‘Normalcy will return in 2024 when there will be elections again’

Only focus of the government is to remain in power. It is not serious about migrants, poor, hunger, industries, jobs, health etc. The Government of India will declare GDP of India fallen due to corona, we are trying to recover, and it will take 2024 for normalcy as there will again be elections for the Prime Minister — Aslam Naikwade

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  1. I think, it can happen in the scenario, when any country is capable of handling large pandemic, and if covid 19 could be similar to cold and cough, and treated immediately.
    Currently, no country is capable to handle pandemic in such a large scale, but a time will come, when they can handle it, even if there are 100000 cases.
    In India, we face Dengue, Chickengunya, Cholera etc on a large scale, but we dont face any lockdown then? We faced plague and swine flu earlier, and we had lockdown hardly for 10 to 15 days, and then back to normal.
    Yes, even when NORMALCY returns, people would probably be more sceptical, e.g. people wont wear mask when travelling by reserved coaches or rajdhani express, or by air (and there wont be checking for that), but most people would automatically wear masks when travelling in crammed unreserved coaches or city buses. People wont wear marks while going to malls and multiplexes, but people will wear them while going to Chandni Chowk or Sadar Bazar in Delhi OR Chikpet or Kalasipalya in Bengaluru. That’s it. Social Distancing etc are there, and people would adhere to them for some time, NOT PERMANENTLY.

  2. Post coronavirus pandemic india must be concerned about the production and usage of non-essential luxury products and services. The common buyer (public) has gained consciousness about the virus and it’s risk and is highly unlikely to by such product or services.
    On the contrary the industries haved faced a lot of beating in there business, therefore they must be very eager to start their factories, increase their production. The labourers would get their jobs back as well as the suppliers and the local shops, but as said earlier if the buyer didn’t bought much of their products then there will be more goods purchased and less goods bought. It would impavt on the production of nest batch and would be an unfavourable situation for consumers as well as the manufacturer too.
    Therefore it is very important for industries to maintain a steady and favourable increase in there production and their business.
    Thank you The Print.

  3. The fear of Covid 19 and attendant protective / defensive measures adopted by the public at large reminds me untouchability in a new format, sans its castiest cloak. The days of hugging, petting, show of bonhomie might not return soon. Even if a vaccine is discovered, it is clearly not going to give life long immunity like small pox vaccine. We have already read of cured patients having been infect by Covid 19 for the second time. Vaccines may become an annual feature like the chicken pox vaccines given to us during the school days in 1950s and 1960s. So, I expect that social behaviour of prople is going to change quite radically. Any show of physical intimacy by friends and relatives may be viewed with suspicion, or apprehension. Political rallys, processions, donferences would have to undergo radical restructuring, unless the followers of Netas implicitly trust their Netas to save from all perils. We already know that travel norms are changing. Waiting time at airports is going to be longer. Sitting within the confines of cabin of aircraft can be a worrisome experience. Wearing the mask during the journe does not make it any the less uncomfortable. I visited Europe for the first time in 2018 and loved its beautiful cities and country side and was hoping to make another trip in 2020. But, now for few more years one dare not visit Europe. These are just some thoughts about the post Covid 19 Indian society.

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