The government’s massive relief package is a step in the right direction in the fight against the coronavirus. With Rs 200 billion allocated for the labour class and Rs 100 billion set aside for tax refunds to business owners, the government has attempted to ease the burden on all major stakeholders in the economy, which is very much needed. This idea is also reflected in the decision to reduce prices of all fuel products by Rs15, providing a monthly stipend of Rs3000 to poor families and the procurement of wheat and other staples.

However, even with all of this, with the scale of the current crisis we are facing, can this be considered enough? An initial estimate suggests that might not be the case. One of the primary issues would be price stabilisation. With the numbers of those infected rapidly rising, there is a genuine concern that panic-buying and hoarding at a time like this would disrupt market forces, so much so that the price of essential commodities might skyrocket if the government does not make an active attempt to keep it under check.

Even if that consideration is included into the government’s relief efforts, Rs 3000 per family for an entire month is simply not enough for survival. We can only hope that the government’s decision to provide ration items at the doorsteps of poor families is organised in such a way where households get both rations and the stipend from the government. This might help in allowing for day labourers and those that stand to lose out on steady income survive while we remain in lockdown.

Quite obviously, this economic stagnancy effects the government just as well. Simply saying that the government should do more when it does not have the resources is meaningless. However, it is hoped that, with more aid through international organisations and friendly countries, we can expand this financial cover as soon as possible.