88% of citizens surveyed in favour of Government making wearing masks mandatory for all when stepping out of home
- • People believe increasing fines on every offense and even suspension of DBT benefits or Aadhaar may be considered to enforce the habit of wearing mask
September 28, 2020, New Delhi: Time and again, the leading experts globally and the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare have been saying that face masks, hand hygiene and social distancing are the 3 things that will protect citizens from COVID-19. However, to observe what is happening on the ground is different. If you visit any public markets, one can see 2 in 10 not even carrying a mask and another 5 carrying a mask but wearing it on the neck or the chin.
The number of Coronavirus cases in India have crossed 6 million and the second wave has already hit some parts of the country. The increasing numbers seem to have been led by the carelessness of many, where they believe that wearing a mask properly while stepping out of their homes or maintaining a safe distance are not necessary.
Although few states have announced a fine if anyone is found without mask in a public place, the small financial penalty doesn’t seem enough to deter the offenders. LocalCircles conducted a survey to get citizen pulse on if masks should be mandatory universally for everyone stepping out of home and what should be done to enforce it. The survey received over 15,000 responses from 202 districts of India.
In the first question, citizens were asked if the Government should make wearing of masks mandatory for all when stepping out of home. 88% agreed with it while only 12% disagreed with it.
88% citizens in favour of Government making wearing masks mandatory for all when stepping out of their home
More than 50 countries require people to cover their faces when they leave home. Countries like China, Russia, UK, Vietnam, Indonesia, and many European countries have made it mandatory for their citizens to wear face masks while going out.
Majority feel, a clear rule across India will atleast lead to clear communication to the citizenry that the country is serious about wearing masks as a way to contain the spread of COVID-19 and not complying will lead to consequences.
The next question asked citizens what the best way is to enforce mandatory wearing of masks outside home. 17% said penalty and punishment (DBT suspension or INR 1000 fine on 1st offence and 3 months of jail on 2nd offence and thereafter), 29% said penalty only (DBT suspension or INR 1000 fine on 1st offence and INR 1000 fine on 2nd offence and thereafter), while 39% said increasing penalties (INR 1000, INR 5000 and INR 10,000 fine for 1st, 2nd and 3rd or higher offenses). 15% were unsure about it.
People feel increasing fines on every offence and even suspension of DBT benefits should be considered to enforce the habit of wearing mask when out of home
Evidently, people believe increasing fines from INR 1000 on first offence to INR 5000 on second offence and to INR 10000 for third offence and for those who can’t pay fines, suspension of DBT benefits or even Aadhaar could be considered to enforce the habit of wearing mask when people step out of homes.
People have also said that technology should somehow be used to identify repeat offenders and fine them heavily, mentioning that identifying offenders based on their Aadhaar could be a logical solution to this. Tracking offences with Aadhaar should not be that difficult as long as the penalty process is digitised. Some citizens even suggested a modification to Aarogya Setu so those issuing challans can do it digitally via the app and the same can be tracked. Some suggested LocalCircles will submit a copy of this report with senior officers of central and state Governments and would request them to consider mandating and enforcing wearing of masks across India.
15,000+ responses were received across 202 districts of India. 71% respondents were men while 29% respondents were women. 59% respondents were from tier 1, 21% from tier 2 and 20% respondents were from tier 3, 4 and rural districts. They survey was conducted via LocalCircles platform and all participants are validated citizens who had to be registered with LocalCircles to participate in this survey.