M ZAHIDUL HAQUE
BY the courtesy of Corona, drastic changes have taken place in occupational, societal and human relations disciplines. COVID-19 pandemic has changed human behaviour and the pattern of human interaction. Social and organizational communications are getting more and more dependent on virtual working. The balance between and among the different societal strata is getting unstable. Corona has made a huge impact on trade and commerce in all the countries of the world. The scourge of unemployment is spreading like an epidemic!
Hundreds of thousands of people have either lost their job or become unemployed. To keep their livelihoods run, people are opting for alternative self-employment. The other day I was going through a news report- a commercial plane pilot in Thailand after being retrenched by the airlines he had been working for the last five years, is now compelled to do the job of food home delivery man.
In our country, many commercial motor vehicle drivers are now ferrying vegetables on the street, while many others including office employees are selling tea on the footpaths. Factory workers including garment workers and service industry workers are passing their days without any earning! How to rehabilitate this huge number of unemployed persons remains a big question before the policy-makers and governments. Perhaps we are to switch on to set-up small enterprises for generating self-employment. Even under this critical corona situation, the agriculture sector is still capable of generating employment. People incapable of bearing high expenditures due to hard financial crisis and lack of employment opportunities are moving back to villages from the big cities including the capital. The Government and NGOs may organize these people by providing the necessary capital to start small enterprises in different disciplines of agriculture, viz. crop, livestock, poultry, forestry, etc.
Small and large processing units should be set up for producing processed products. At the same time, marketing channels need to be strengthened and the export of agricultural produces by air must be ensured. Agriculture industry can not only general internal employment but can earn a huge sum of foreign exchanges through exports of agricultural produces during this corona era.
Experts have suggested the development of skilled manpower in different sectors as per the demand of time (e.g. IT) through providing necessary training. This will help to send back our manpower abroad, those who lost their jobs due to the economic recession caused by the corona pandemic.
The present corona situation has also left an adverse effect on people’s mental state which if not checked will emerge as a new health concern. Societies instead of fearing being attacked by coronavirus should increase small social gatherings through maintaining social distances and other precautionary guidelines. Bond of friendship and fellow-feelings has to be brought back appreciating the present situation. As the present corona pandemic has pushed people inside the home, family values should be retained and strengthened. All the family members should take care of one another. It is not known when we will again back to pre-corona pandemic state but through concerted efforts applying human values, we can definitely defeat COVID-19!
(The author is a Professor in the Department of Agricultural Extension and Information System, Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University, Dhaka-1207. E-mail: email@example.com)
M ZAHIDUL HAQUE