NEW DELHI: Inadequate coordination between the Centre and states was one of the reasons which led to poor implementation of relief measures, funding concerns and delayed response mechanisms for marginalised groups during the lockdown, said an assessment report by NGO Housing and Land Rights Network.
It said that there is a need to ensure implementation and monitoring of Centre and state governments’ relief measures.
Information for funds related to public funds for COVID-19 relief and recovery, including PM Cares should be made public and people should be provided with updates on the utilisation of the funds, said the report titled "India’s COVID-19 Lockdown: Human Rights Assessment and Compilation of State Relief Measures". It added that any surveillance applications should not be imposed on people either.
The pandemic showed the prevailing state of inadequate housing for low-income groups. The primary challenge in implementing the precautionary measures of "stay at home", maintaining physical distance, and frequent handwashing in the country was that over 4 million people live in homelessness in urban areas, and 75 million people live in informal settlements without access to essential services, the report said.
While lack of universalisation of public distribution system left people hungry, lack of identity documents excluded workers from accessing state benefits during the lockdown, the report pointed out.
Daily wage workers, migrant workers, agricultural labourers, homeless and landless people, and others employed in the informal sector were among the most hard hit by the lockdown. The government should ensure migrants return home safely and that their transportation is free of cost.
With the country in the third phase of the lockdown, there is a need to ensure distribution of essential food items to those who need it, including those who do not hold ration cards. The process for accessing food should be simplified and inclusive, the report suggested.
"Free water supply in all settlements and homeless clusters, and increase in the number of community toilets across the country were need of the hour," it added. The HLRN report recommended that the government should provide the relief measures of food, shelter, financial assistance for protection of vulnerable groups for at least six months after the lockdown ends.