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CHANGING RESPONSIBILITY OF INDIAN CITIZENS DURINGCOVID- AN ANALYSIS

Date- 19 th July 2021


Changing Responsibility of Indian Citizens during covid 19- an Analysis



ABSTRACT


The world through the globalization process had become one big village where every action

affects the whole world thus helping in the overall development of the world. But the pandemic showed that this interconnection can also have negative effects. This paper tries to show the changes and inclusion that the pandemic has brought to a different concept of responsibility of a citizen and how much this change in the concept is important especially during the era of the pandemic for the citizen of a country. It also tries to educate people about the different responsibilities that one has to society.


The pandemic has taught us that, we as individuals stand short of the strength and capability to overcome this. It calls for collective action. And to build the social capital required for such actions, performing one's duties and responsibilities become a necessity. It is in this light that I here try to analyze and understand the various responsibilities one as a citizen can manifest during this pandemic time.


KEYWORDS- Responsibility, Covid-19, citizen


METHODOLOGY

In this research paper, the research methodology that is used is of secondary materials such as journals, articles, etc.


1. INTRODUCTION

The world trembled upon the unfamiliar crisis of Covid-19 in the latter half of 2019. Starting

from China, it swiftly ran across the world. Millions succumbed to death and diseases. It spread from one country to another, one society to another. Nations and states stretched their resources to save their citizens from the perils of the virus and the disease


The unprecedented influx of the covid-19 pandemic has brought the world into a long-standing war. The pandemic brought in a huge variety of changes in the life of an individual person and society. This has lead to the coming up of not only new opportunities, challenges but also has brought different definitions and perspectives to certain aspects of human life. The

responsibilities that one had to the society were also changed and acquired new and

unconventional methods. The pandemic brought the importance of one's responsibility into the limelight, where every action of a person has an extra impact on society.


2. LITERATURE REVIEW

The view that there is no source of obligation saves the claims of individual sentient beings

entails that we have no responsibility to anything other than such beings 1 .This type of view has lost its significance in a world where the actions of one or one country can affect the whole world due to the globalization process. So there is a need to have the obligation and

responsibility to look after the people, who get affected by our actions.


Social responsibility is an ethical theory in which individuals are accountable for fulfilling their

civic duty, and the actions of an individual must benefit the whole of society. In this way, there must be a balance between economic growth and the welfare of society and the environment. If this equilibrium is maintained, then social responsibility is accomplished 2 .This is a narrow opinion as social responsibility is not a duty where one is accountable rather it is something that is done as a responsible citizen.


3. RESPONSIBILITY

In general, responsibility can be defined as Responsibility is the fact or state of being

accountable. It is the state of being responsible, accountable, or answerable, as for a trust, debt, or obligation. The term has several other meanings such as reliability, trustworthiness,

dependability, loyalty, faithfulness, efficiency, competency, uprightness, firmness, steadfastness, stability, ability, accountability, liability, culpability, obligation, trust, charge, and duty.The word responsibility can be defined and interpreted from any angle such as social, political, economic, legal, etc. And human beings are responsible for their individual action which affects the society at large. At times when these responsibilities are not followed or accepted by society, they are punished through fines or in other ways. Responsibility changes from person to person.


4. SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

Social responsibility is the willingness of an individual to help others even when there is nothing to be gained for himself. That is social responsibility is related to values such as

solidarity or altruism since it considers the individual traits towards the rest of the society from a humane, philanthropic and selfless attitude.Just like the SARS outbreak, the covid -19 pandemic has brought in the long-forgotten and some new social responsibilities that are to be followed by an individual. In other words pandemic has brought in a new normal which emphasis largely social responsibility. The present responsibilities mainly aim at reducing the transmission or avoiding contradicting the diseases. Some of the ways it is done are by a stay at home, work from home, not gathering in groups, and maintaining a distance of at least 2 meters from others outdoors, avoiding unnecessary trips, etc. The citizens has also the social responsibility to avoid an unnecessary trip to the hospitals for a minute fever thus reducing the pressure of the health care system from our part. The citizen also has the duty to look after their neighbors who lack the care especially elderly people who are more susceptible to the disease.


The pandemic has also brought in a different type of social responsibility to the health workers. These people work overtime without adequate rest or sleep to create a barrier between the people and the covid-19 pandemic And we the citizens should have the responsibility to adhere to their instructions and respect their work and motivate them to strive harder. Rather than beating up them for baseless reasons which have been constantly a topic of news in India during the

pandemic.


The most daring and challenging responsibility that we as a citizen have a hard time to adhere is the sharing of fake news. One with or without intention shares this fake news to the general public thus creating chaos and to an extent, a level of mistrust between the people and the health officials. This damages and all the more destroys the development that we make in stopping the pandemic. The fake news relating to the efficacy of the vaccine had all been cleared by professionals but some demoralized citizen tries to make the vaccine reach the needy. The recent cases of vaccine trucks being dumped on the side of the road and the fake news relating to the vaccine's side effects are all examples of this.


Also, the age-old responsibility of using resources efficiently and effectively gain much stronger importance in this pandemic era. As more and more resources are diverted towards the medical sector for making masks, personal protective kits, and other medical types of equipment, the need to use the resources becomes a moral as well as a mandatory responsibility for a citizen for

his or her better future. In other words, it means purchasing items that they actually need and not items of luxury.


4.1 CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

A firm that is started by a single person or group of person, it is rather a part of society. This is

because the firm is always dependent upon society for its production, sales, resources, etc. So it

is natural and the moral duty of a firm to give back to society especially at times of a worldwide

pandemic that has been stalling society. Through these social responsibilities, a firm can get the

trust and goodwill it needs to perform well in the market. Corporate Social Responsibility is a

management concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their

business operations and interactions with their stakeholders. Corporate Social Responsibility is

generally understood as being the way through which a company achieves a balance of

economic, environmental, and social imperatives 4 .In other words, corporate social

responsibilities are those responsibilities that businessmen are reasonably expected to assume

towards society. The Freeman stakeholder theory argues that a firm should create value for all

stakeholders, not just the shareholders. The theory articulates the need for businesses to think

beyond the owners and address stakeholders such as customers, employees, suppliers, financiers,

etc. These can be done through donations to the sections of the society which was most

negatively hit by the pandemic and also reducing the prices of goods to help customers procure

their products without the extra burden of prices on their shoulders. Also, the government has

supported Corporate Social Responsibility, especially during the pandemic by notifying that all

expenditures incurred on activities related to COVID-19 would be added as permissible avenues

for CSR expenditure. Further, A general circular (No. 21/2014, dated June 18, 2014) mentioned


that the items in Schedule VII are broad-based and may be interpreted liberally for the purpose of

donations being made with respect to COVID 19. This announcement from the ministry was

welcomed by Corporate India. It created a win-win situation for companies with existing CSR

obligations and funds at disposal who wanted to contribute to relief and meet statutory

requirements of The Companies Act at the same time 5 .Effective CSR gives a company the power

to stand out in today’s saturated market and connect with customers on a level that ensures long-

term loyalty and potentially even brand advocacy. (Ray SK, 2020) The pandemic gave them a

chance to connect and create market visibility for themselves.


5. ETHICAL RESPONSIBILITY

Ethical responsibility is somewhat a part of social responsibility. In definition, it means taking a

morally correct path. It can also be said as the behavior of one that is expected by society but not

codified in law. This can be seen in the present health care system, where there is a need to take a

decision regarding who should get the treatment. This is mainly because the pandemic infected

millions of people, to whom the healthcare sector can't provide treatment at the same time.

Rather the sector has to take the decision of taking in patients with worse or serious conditions

and for the time being, ignoring one's with better immunity and having no harm to their life.

There is also the ethical responsibility for a citizen to take care of the homeless people,

abandoned people by providing them with food and other necessities during the pandemic as

they do not have any other source of income due to the restriction and ceasing of economic

activities. One also has the ethical responsibility to educate the people about the chances of

increased child and women trafficking, child marriages on the backdrop of the pandemic as

people in poverty need to make money in any possible way or to decrease their family expenses.


It is also for the ethical responsibility of citizens that we saw initiatives in places like Kerala to

equip students and children unable to attend schools nor afford online learning themselves with

computers, laptops, mobiles, etc. The movement initiated by the government was enthusiastically

taken up by the society as a whole on grounds of moral and ethical responsibility towards

disempowered children.


6. LEGAL RESPONSIBILITY

The great jurist, Salmond defined law as, " the law may be defined as a body of principles

recognized and applied by the state in the administration of justice. We as responsible citizens as

the duty to abide by the rules that have been laid down, especially the rules pertaining to the

pandemic by the respective state and the union government. The Epidemics Act,1897 which was

imposed by the government tells us about the various rules that have to be abided. Such as the

rules regarding lockdown, noncommission of offenses relating to manhandling health officials,

etc. Even though the laws and rules are implemented by the concerned authority, it is ultimately

the responsibility of the citizens to follow the law for peaceful coexistence, especially during the

pandemic scenario.


7. ECONOMIC RESPONSIBILITY

Economic responsibility had increased its importance in this pandemic era. The responsibility is

on shoulders ranging from the government authorities to the vendors and sellers of goods.

Individuals have an obligation of participating in different economic actions that ensure the

betterment of their own lives, and the entire society at large. To achieve this, they should

participate in economically responsible activities which promote personal and societal well-

being. The vendors, in this case, have to make sure they don't hoard the needed goods such as

food materials, masks, sanitizers, etc, and sell them at an exuberant price to make a profit. Rather

they should sell it either at the reasonable price range. This is because the exuberant price of

products makes them affordable only to a limited percentage of the population and exposing the

rest of the population to the pandemic. Making the pandemic situation rage on rather than getting

rid of the pandemic in a fast and efficient manner. The government should also put ineffective

economic restrictions against the hoarding and sale of goods in the black market to reduce the

negative impact of these actions on the public at large. Here the corporate and other employment

generating institution also has the economic responsibility to take care their valuable assets that

is, the workers during the time of pandemic as production and sales are at an all-time low.

Especially the daily wage earners who are at the most risk should be provided with more

friendly, at least temporary schemes to reduce their economic burden.


8. CONCLUSION


The rage of the pandemic that has been affecting the world for over a year is still continuing and

we as a citizen has the duty and responsibility to bring an end to it sooner through a more

exclusive acceptance of the changing responsibilities that we have to follow in different aspect

such as social, legal, economic, etc. Or else the wrath of the pandemic will destroy the economy

and lives of the citizen to its core from where rejuvenation is quite hard and almost impossible.

Every step starts with you and only you can trigger a change in society to tackle the pandemic

effectively. The need for this inclusive nature of the new idea is imperative for the better

development of society and also for a better understanding of one's responsibility towards

society. In this way, the pandemic had been an eye-opener for everyone to realize their

responsibilities to the societies and how one's actions affect the society as a whole and their

actions can make or break the society.

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1 Rorty, Richard. “RELIGIOUS FAITH, INTELLECTUAL RESPONSIBILITY, AND ROMANCE.” American

Journal of Theology & Philosophy, vol. 17, no. 2, 1996, pp. 121–140. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/27943984.

Accessed 8 July 2021

2 Social Responsibility and Ethics(Pachamama Alliance) <https://www.pachamama.org/social-justice/social-

responsibility-and-

ethics#:~:text=Social%20responsibility%20is%20an%20ethical,of%20society%20and%20the%20environme

nt.> accessed on 10th June 2021

3 Responsibility Law and Legal Definition (US Legal).<https://definitions.uslegal.com/r/responsibility/>accessed 10

July,2021

4 UN industrial development organization,<https://www.unido.org/our-focus/advancing-economic-

competitiveness/competitive-trade-capacities-and-corporate-responsibility/corporate-social-responsibility-market-

integration/what-csr>accessed on 10 july 2021

5 Archana Koli, Rutvi Mehta,Corporate social responsibility practices in the times of COVID-19: A study of India's

BFSI sector,

<https://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/governance/corporate-social-responsibility-practices-in-the-times-of-covid-

19-a-study-of-india-s-bfsi-sector-

74583#:~:text=In%20the%20present%20era%20of,permissible%20avenues%20for%20CSR%20expenditure.>

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About the author

By: - AMIL GEO TOM (RESEARCH INTERN, STAMBH

ORGANISATION)

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