Indians support higher penalties for not wearing a mask in public

On the battlefield.
On the battlefield.
Image: REUTERS/Niharika Kulkarni
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At a time when some Americans believe that the government’s decision to make coronavirus masks mandatory is a threat to civil liberties and personal freedom, Indians are all for it.

Nearly 90% of the respondents in a recent survey in India said they believe wearing masks should be mandatory and the government should punish those who don’t. The survey, conducted by community social media engagement platform LocalCircles, included more than 15,000 responses across 202 districts of India.

The Covid-19 pandemic is currently raging in India with the country adding thousands of new cases each day.

Punishment for not wearing masks

Wearing a mask is mandatory in India, and authorities have been cracking the whip on those who break the rule. In Delhi alone, more than 25,000 people had been fined till mid-June for not wearing a mask. Likewise, Mumbai’s Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has fined over 14,000 people since April for not wearing a mask. BMC has so far collected Rs52.76 lakh ($70,432) in fines from people flouting the norm.

Respondents in the LocalCircles survey felt the government should not only fine those who flout the rules, but also punish them. Nearly 40% of respondents favoured increasing the penalties.

Currently, the fine for going to a public place without a mask in India is up to Rs1,000.

“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,” LocalCircles said.