The Government of India – under the Disaster Management Act – has set up 11 Empowered Groups for ensuring a comprehensive and integrated response to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic. Empowered Group-4, headed by Dr Arun K Panda, Secretary (MSME), has launched a full-fledged website covidwarriors.gov.in that has a comprehensive database of Covid Warriors. The data accounts for doctors and nurses as well as dentists, auxiliary health staff, Ayush practitioners, Asha and Anganwadi workers and those that belong to the uniformed youth groups such as NSS and NCC.
According to covidwarriors.gov.in website, India has at least 3 million medical professionals and roughly 8 million others who can be drafted for disease containment work such as contact tracing etc. The website reflects the Union government’s stocktaking of a vast and divergent pool of human resources that can be deployed if the Covid-19 outbreak grows.
Like the growing number of COVID-19 victims, the list of those who are helping them to cope up with the pandemic is also expanding. More and more people from different walks of life are being categorised as “Corona Warriors” in view of their positive contribution to ease the pain being caused to countless people by the spread of coronavirus throughout the world. I am sure there are many more unknown groups and individuals still left out who deserve to be called “Corona Warriors”.
I wish to dedicate this month’s editorial to some of the very special people and organizations whom I would like the global community to classify as “Corona Warriors”. They deserve our appreciation and respect for their work in helping millions of garment workers in poor and developing countries. For example, institutions like the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) and Center for Global Workers’ Rights (CGWR) at Pennsylvania State University have been actively working with brands and retailers to ensure they honour their commitments to suppliers. The goal is for factory workers to continue receiving wages and avoid large-scale dismissals of workers in different countries.
Similarly, I also would like to classify those brands and retailers as “Corona Warriors” who have committed to pay in full for all apparel orders already in production or completed, greatly reducing harm to suppliers and workers. This list includes: adidas, H&M, Inditex (Zara), Kiabi, LPP, Marks & Spencer, Next, Nike, PVH (Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger), Target, Tesco, Under Armour, UNIQLO, and VF Corp. (JanSport, The North Face, Vans, Timberland). See the full list on the “Covid-19 Brand Tracker” maintained by the WRC.
The corona warriors are like angels at this time of emergency who have been working tirelessly to minimise the pain caused by this pandemic both in terms of saving lives and livelihood. Let’s welcome and thank them for their special work and excellent contributions.