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Coronavirus lockdown | Not many understood what govt circulars said, says survey

Shutters down: Some liquor stores remained closed in New Delhi on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

The lockdown has been extended till May 17, but with a graded exit for various zones depending on the case-loads and other factors. Surveys, however, indicate that very few people understood the government circulars on what is allowed and what is not. Less than 25% of the over 16,358 responses polled from 12,410 people across 277 districts surveyed by Local Circles (a survey firm) admitted to understanding just what the circulars meant - a fact borne out by the large number of clarifications issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs after the announcement of the lockdown extension.

Out of the respondents, 66% were men and the rest women. While 42% of the respondents hailed from Tier 1 cities, 36% were from Tier 2, and 22% from Tier 3 and 4 and rural areas.

The survey also reveals that 74% of those polled wanted no relaxations to the lockdown in districts that showed a high virus load (out of the 277 districts polled, 27 were high virus load areas).

Alcohol issue

In another survey, done just after alcohol was allowed to be sold from stand-alone stores, 52% of around 8078 respondents across 250 districts said home delivery of alcoholic beverages should be attempted by the State governments as fear of the spread of COVID-19 in the face of surging crowds at these stores were expressed.

Around 16% of the respondents said that the shop opening time should be extended, while 23% were in favour of heavy police bandobast to ensure social distancing. Several States have increased the prices of liquor with a “Corona cess”, but the lines have remained long and the shops crowded.

While home delivery is not explicitly disallowed or allowed by State excise laws, Chattisgarh is one State that has allowed online booking and sale of liquor, for up to 5 litres of alcohol per customer and a ₹120 delivery charge.

Of the over 8,000 respondents, again, 69% were men and 31% women, with 45% of them from Tier 1 cities, 35% from Tier 2, and the rest from Tier 3,4 and rural areas.

As India tries to find its way out of what has been a twice extended lockdown, its plans for a graded exit may have to take into account all these granular issues as citizens prepare to return to public spaces, with no viable, proven vaccine against COVID-19 in sight.

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Printable version | Oct 25, 2020 11:23:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/not-many-understood-what-govt-circulars-said-survey/article31516783.ece

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