Shafiqa Gul writes about social distancing, shutting schools, work from home, and how the government itself failed it.

Social distancing cannot be the same thing for everybody — the worker, the student, the migrant. Nor is ‘home’ the equivalent for all. Before long, we should settle on these decisions. While the world tasks the number of deaths, how to level the bend and how to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, new authority terms stand up to us today, each being made increasingly recognizable through newspapers and online social platforms. Social distancing is one such term and let us see how we can comprehend its importance through the warning of the administration in India.
On March 16, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare gave a warning on social distancing taking into account the spread of COVID-19.

This began with characterizing social removing as a non-pharmaceutical infection, counteraction, and control intercession. It was executed to maintain a strategic distance to decline contact between the individuals tainted with a sickness causing pathogen and the individuals who are not to stop or hinder the rate and degree of malady transmission in a network.
This, in the long run, prompts decline in spread, horribleness, and mortality because of the ailment.

Shutting off schools, guidelines on mass social congregation, delay of examinations and avoidance of unnecessary travel were endorsed in the advisory.
The Government of India orders by all accounts addresses schools, colleges and universities. It also targets the student network as the essential and priority target group, followed by private segment employees. The warning says that students should remain at home and online instruction be advanced to them.
This has to lead to prompt lodging, clearing strategies in different higher educational establishments.

Obviously, all students don’t remain at home for the purposes of education and nothing has worked out for how soon hostels should be cleared during this general health crisis and whether educational organizations have any obligation to make interval measures, and guarantee a protected passage back home for the students.
A comparable clashing circumstance has emerged after the declaration of the countrywide lockdown on March 24.
A great many transient workers have been seen swarming the transport end in Delhi-Uttar Pradesh fringes. Transient families strolled unbelievable distances to return ‘homes’.

Going in packed transports, strolling for significant distances is plainly counter-beneficial to physical separating, which the administration’s own warning proposed.
This leaves us pondering, who is social, physical separating implied for?
In the event that the home has developed as the site to stay at or, in alarm, to return to, shouldn’t something be said about the destitute and homeless?
The accentuation on advancing on the web and online instructions at this crossroads makes one wonder whether all administration schools, universities and colleges have satisfactory infrastructural conditions to help it.

All the more critically whether most students have those amenities at home—where they are relied upon to be – to profit that education?
A more essential inquiry is whether courses that have consistently been executed in an eye-to-eye mode can out of nowhere become appropriate to be taught on the web? Are educators prepared altogether?
Work-from-home, similar to the huge scope of online education, is actually a serious and alien idea in India, outside of the corporate or media world, that too for officials with specific higher positioning.

This is on the grounds that physical reconnaissance and control are significant modes through which regular work culture operates in generally open and private division work environments. Additionally, getting paperless and settling on all choices through email is not a piece of the open institutional culture in India.
Does a general health emergency advancing social distancing become the premise of the transformed office practices for the future?
It is imperative to take note that while through the social distancing warning the GoI was requesting the privately-owned businesses to work from home, it despite everything kept its own workplaces open with a 50 per cent attendance advisory before the lockdown.

The author is a Doctoral Fellow and can be mailed at


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