Umesh B. Nooralakuppe, Social Activist, Karnataka/Indien
My name is Umesh. I am a social activist. I work for the abolition of the bonded and child labour system. Also, I work with agricultural labourers, daily wage labourers and workers in the unorganised sector.
During the lockdown of the covid-19 crisis, in my area many labourers are suffering [because of] food problems and [because of not being able to satisfy their] daily needs. When Corona affected my area, it meant no work, no wages, no benefits [that is, social security]. And also, everybody has been afraid of the corona virus: agricultural workers, daily wage labourers, street sellers, autotaxi drivers, plumbers, painters, and also construction workers – [all] mainly Dalit and tribal people. Everyone is suffering [because of the lack] of food and [of any means to cover one’s] daily needs and hospital expenses [that is also medical expenses]. Our government is giving 40 kg rice, 1 kg dhal. What about other things, like oil, sugar, tea powder, onions, masala powder, vegetables and other cooking items? If people want to purchase [these things], they don’t have money. How to manage life? [These are] very very bad conditions. But, by the time, some of the NGOs and political leaders are giving some donations for food packages. It is very good but not sufficient. But even today also many village labourers, [that is] agricultural and daily wage labourers, are suffering for food [from hunger] and [so many other difficult life] conditions.
I demand from our government, it should take full charge of [maintaining/restoring the full life security of] our agricultural workers, daily wage labourers and Dalit and tribal people (…). It means food package for one year, monthly honoraria, free children’s education etcetera etcetera and also [free] hospital [treatment, this is, medical service].
 Besides being afraid in health and economic terms, particularly poor people also fear other effects of getting diagnosed with Covid-19 such as being put in quarantine in public badly equipped hospitals and also getting ostracised afterwards in their workplaces as well as socially. Therefore many people shy away from getting a check-up done in the first place.
 This is particularly hard for people with chronic ailments, e. g., malaria, diabetes, heart problems, kidney failures (dialysis patients).
 This was a one-time provision by the government.
 Honoraria, in this case, means some income support / social assistance for ongoing bills to be paid such as for rent, water and electricity, and so on until people will have regained some source of income.
 Another demand, which Umesh B. Nooralakuppe added in a phone conversation, aims at a special package for people who were infected by Covid-19 and may, due to social ostracisation, not be able to return to their workplace. This entails economic assistance, free access to medical services (“regaining physical strength”) and mental/moral support for those who have been affected. This has, however, also to be linked to educational and awareness programs for the general public.
Transkription/Textedition sowie Ergänzungen und nachträgliche Erläuterungen (Klammern und Fußnoten) in Absprache mit Umesh Nooralakuppe