COVID 19 India – Govt and Panchayat initiatives for local vendors during lockdown

Government Initiative at Gram Panchayat level during COVID Lockdown in India

COVID India – 21 Days of Lockdown

People were seen hoarding essential and non-essential items the day the lockdown was announced and local kirana stores were emptied out without any regard to the many consumers who were taking it easy and following the government’s directives.

Since the Indian government announced the 21 days national lockdown, a lot of opinions are being shot blindly in the social media. Some agree with the government’s decision, some are criticising it. But no one really seems to know how the government is planning to deal with this.

We live in a gated township of sorts just at the outskirts of Pune where there have been maximum number of confirmed COVID cases. So panic and uncertainty was expected after the lockdown was announced. We have just a couple of kirana stores and two vegetable shops for essentials shopping. Other markets are far and travelling till the main market is not advisable.

Milk, of course, is available in pre packaged pasteurised variations, plus the local doodhwala who supplies fresh cow’s and buffalo’s milk. I subscribe to the philosophy of consuming local produce and follow it as much as possible.

We as a household, consume less and innovate with food. So when the lockdown was announced, we were not worried and did not feel the need or urge to hoard. Even if fresh vegetables were not available for a week or so, we would have been fine with it. Milk, however, is another story.

We consume 2 ltrs of fresh cow’s milk on an average. I do not believe that pasteurized milk is better than fresh milk and it does not go very well with my body, so fresh is what I prefer for myself, my child and everyone else. However, if forced to use the pasteurised milk packet – I’d use it to make fresh paneer or yogurt / curds.

Understandably, our community wanted to cut down the interaction with people coming from outside the township while maintaining a steady supply of essentials, so ideas started floating and being implemented.

IDEA 1

The first idea was to restrict the timings of the shops but that backfired because everybody came down to the shopping complex together and queued up for hours outside the shop. If the shop would have been open through the day, as usual, people would arrive at their own convenience with less urgency to buy more than required or hoard. It defeated the purpose of minimising interaction through social distancing.

IDEA 2

Engage a vehicle and go to the various building to distribute the vegetables. People again queued up at the first building the vehicle stopped at because it would take too long for the vehicle to reach their building and the veggies would not be fresh or sold out. Again there were queues and a lot of time wasted. Again, it defeated the purpose of minimising interaction through social distancing.

IDEA 3

The second idea yet to be implemented is to procure milk, veggies and other essentials centrally. We were asked how much milk each house would need per day. For veggies, a rationed amount is being circulated which will be given to each household twice a week. The vegetable shops and other shops are expected to close during the lockdown. Maybe, a good idea on the surface but flawed.

As for milk, everyone prefers either different brands of pasteurized milk or fresh milk for people like me. If I do take the rationed amount but it does not work for my needs, it goes waste. Same is for fresh vegetables and other essentials. Every household has a different number and age group of members whose consumption patterns vary. By rationing essentials, we are just creating an environment of emergency, hoarding and wastage. That too, wasting commodities that we should be sharing with billions of other countrymen.

Everyone can criticise but what’s the solution?

THE REAL SOLUTION

The only valid solution right now is to stop cribbing and trust the government during this COVID lockdown. It’s not possible to make all citizens understand their plan of action or seek their advisory. The media promotes fear but we need solidarity in this time of a pandemic.

Here is a video of our local doodhwala (milkman). I noticed he started getting a van instead of his motorcycle for milk deliveries so I asked him a couple of questions about it. It led to a conversation I wanted to share with all of you. He talks about how the gram panchayat and the government has educated them and is giving them the right resources to be able to protect themselves, their business’ as well as the consumers they deliver to.

Isn’t it better to just stay home during COVID lockdown, relax, let a trusted local vendor who understands the risks, deliver essentials to your place instead of going down the lift or the stairs, meeting more people that you would at home and receiving a pre packaged parcel that has gone through factory processing (in the case of milk), distribution channels and has touched so many surfaces and hands?

I think, it’s best that we put our trust in the government and believe that essentials are not going to stop during this 21 days of COVID lockdown. ‘Hum bhooke nahin marenge…’. Even if there is a little scarcity, we can be innovative with food and try out new food with whatever is left in the refrigerator or without fresh vegetables (learn from Rajasthanis). See below for inspiration.

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Limited ingredients in the kitchen? No worries, in this series of #Sustainablecooking, I’ll share templates that you can mix and match, innovate and experiment with. In this Video: Recipe template for Chila (Indian Pancake) ~ COVID Lockdown is the perfect time to innovate with food and try out new combinations and recipes. Here is a template you can follow and make your own combinations of Chila (Indian Pancake) ! Enjoy. ~ #cooking #recipes #veggiepancakes #indianpancake #foodies #foodie #foodinnovation #foodiegram #recipevideos #recipevideo #experimentwithfood #leftovermakeover #tastyfood #tastyrecipes #tastytuesday #tasty #greenfood #greenfoods #healthylifestyle #healthyfood #healthylivingtips #healthyliving #eatyourgreens #lowcaloriemeals #breakfastideas #breakfastrecipes #breakfastrecipe #lowcalorierecipes #lowcaloriediet

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Shivani GargCOVID 19 India – Govt and Panchayat initiatives for local vendors during lockdown

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