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Economic support to minimise the impact of COVID-19

The various stimulus being administered by governments to stimulate consumer demand, need to be tailored to the needs of each country, and the economic distress being faced by citizens (“COVID-19 impact: US bank CEOs warn of tougher economic road after recent gains”, Gulf News, July 17). In developed countries, while digital payments can facilitate transactions, the large number of job cuts can compress purchasing power. The British Fashion Council has just warned that 240,000 jobs are at risk in the fashion industry in Britain. Again, the United Kingdom (UK) shed 650,000 jobs during the lockdown, according to the National Statistics Office.

In developing countries in South Asia, like India, there is limited cash with the bulk of the population, especially in smaller towns and villages. The salaried classes are having their salaries reduced or stopped altogether, depending on the fate of the industries they were working in. About 80 million migrants who trudged back to their homes are without jobs. A study in Mumbai slums shows that about 47 per cent of the slum dwellers had no income during the lockdown and 70 per cent of them had to take loans for basics like water and food.

Farmers are unable to sell their entire product due to non-availability of labour from the adjoining states, and the closure of many wholesale markets due to the lockdowns. So, even if these people had internet access or credit cards, they would have scarce money to spend. The issue of low consumer spending is also exacerbated in many developing countries because they do not have unemployment, medical or pension benefits for their citizens. They have nobody to turn to in distress.

Because of the cash shortage and the fears sparked by the unchecked spread of COVID-19, most people across countries and income classes are spending on essentials only. They are postponing all luxury and pleasure spending. In dire situations like the current crisis, cash is king. Public confidence to spend again will be kindled only if the disease starts muting or a vaccine is discovered expeditiously.

From Mr Rajendra Aneja

Mumbai, India

India's cricket board ‘should pull up 2012 IPL committee members’

Congratulations to Deccan Chargers for winning the arbitration against the cash-rich Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), who always feel that they are above the law (“Cricket: BCCI ordered to pay former Indian Premier League (IPL) champions Deccan Chargers $640 million”, Gulf News, July 18). It's a real blow to the Indian Premier League (IPL) administrators, especially the cricket board, who think that they can get away with anything and everything. We do not know what's the fate of other franchise owners who were at the receiving end. I feel the present board members should pull up the 2012 IPL committee members. Anyway, it's a boon to Deccan Chargers.

From Mr N Mahadevan

Chennai, India

COVID-19: Tackling poverty and inequalities should be reinforced globally

Poverty is an outrage which openly snatches away happiness and dignity (“India’s social inequalities reflected in coronavirus care”, Gulf News, June 26). It exposes people's basic needs and leaves them contaminated in swamps of miseries. We should all be standing together for dignity, equality and justice. We must demonstrate a strong commitment to eradicating extreme poverty, dismantling its root causes across the world and enabling the voice and agency of the poor and marginalised to be fully realised. We should all yearn for a world where everyone has the fullness of life, a life lived with dignity, free from poverty and need and where global resources are equitably shared and sustainably used. We must recognise that the threat posed by climate change and environmental degradation is cataclysmic. The polar ice sheet is disappearing at ten times the predicted rate, and 1 million animal and plant species face extinction. Urgent action is needed in the next decade if we are to keep temperature increases below 1.5°C and tackle the catastrophic decline in global biodiversity.

From Mr Handsen Chikowore

London, United Kingdom

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