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How India can rise to the Covid challenge.

Beyond these broad points, the key question is whether the package is good enough to help the poor tide over the hardships resulting from the lockdown.

The Covid-19 epidemic, which originated in China in Dec 2019, has now reached 175 out of a total of 195 countries. No past pandemic has spread this widely and this fast. And we are far from seeing the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Until a definite cure and vaccine against the virus are found, the threat will loom.

India, too, is in the middle of this calamity. An extraordinary challenge requires an extraordinary response.

Thankfully, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has acted decisively and confidently. India is now on a 21-day lockdown. Short of this action, risks for India were huge. Modi couldn’t have been more right when he said that without the 21-day lockdown, the nation risked being set back by 21 years.

To be sure, the lockdown asymmetrically disadvantages those living hand-to-mouth. One can argue that even the poor can survive for a week with the help of their better-off neighbours, fellow villagers and those for whom they work.

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