Article by: Sanjeet Nigodia
While coming down to the end of 3rdphase of Coronavirus induced national lockdown in the entire country, the matter of concern shifts to the decision making capability of authorities whether they have certain measures to be followed with strong lookout or will they just flow upon the decisions made by the centre followed by a timed speeches by the Prime minister? Whereas the real question remains unanswered what else other than revising the Lockdown releasing versions after version. The Question that rises here is how are we prepared to fight the stagnant economy as clearly there are daily wage workers who are unable to return to their natives. It would be foolish to expect for jobs or basic living is guaranteed. Working class people can be seen stuck. We have witnessed the recent figures in ongoing lockdown 3.0 which reflects the doubling trend day by day resulting into recorded 25000 new positive cases in a week along with the highest single day spike on 10thof May with around 4300 positive cases and 198 deaths in a day. These figures demands the outlined plans and policies to be followed by the government post lockdown 3.0 which government actually refused to share in the previous case scenarios and withhold the same till the last hours of its implementations. This was a grave failure resulting into inability to protect the most vulnerable sections such as migrant labourers and workers leaving them to die due to hunger on road side accidents on their way back to town walking without any conveyance allowed or provided to them. This calls for the early plans without further delay or leave it all to further consequences.
People of India are meant to be the shareholders of the country as they all put in their stake in the welfare of state via tax they pay be it direct or indirect. They are also entitled to know the strategy of the power in advance atleast in these hard times to prepare themselves for the upcoming steps from the government. Otherwise, it results in, as we witnessed the ruckus created due to the decision of entire lockdown of the country with just four hours prior notice.
The government’s current struggle to achieve the balance is a consequence of previous blunders, which began with a four-hour notice for a national lockdown, according to a report by BBC and PM later was seeking forgiveness. Instead a plan could have been suggested for the stranding migrant workers nationwide with and without out jobs, money and eventually food. Despite claims made to the Supreme Court that a couple of million workers were being cared for, Modi outsourced moral responsibility, asking India’s people to “look after” those in need.
In the absence of jobs, food and transport services, thousands of weary migrant workers, who once powered India’s economy, continue epic journeys home on cycle or on foot, over hundreds, even 1000 kms or more. Some drop dead of exhaustion or illness, either on the way or, tragically, after reaching home. One group was mowed down while sleeping on rail tracks they thought was empty of trains.
No trains or buses were organised for workers who wanted to return home but either could not or were not allowed to. The first trains started running after 40 days of pointless inaction, during which time workers in crowded accommodation risked infection, which they might carry to relatively unscathed rural India – up to 80% of positive cases are from urban areas. In Karnataka, the Bharatiya Janata Party government cancelled the trains, after real-estate companies complained there would be no workers, just when construction was about to restart. After a storm of criticism, the decision was rescinded.
Style over substance has been the trend of current ruling party by lighting of candles to switching on the phone flash lights. A virus may not provide advance notice before striking. In this case, India did get early warning but did not do enough. Despite warnings from its top medical research body that a lockdown alone would, at best, reduce peak infections on a given ay by 40%, Modi’s government ignored for a month all the advice from the Indian Council of Medical Research to urgently launch other interventions. It included door-to-door supplies of food and other essentials to the poor; district-wise infection monitoring; “fast reporting” to identify and quarantine infective clusters; mass quarantines for those in densely populated areas; and a rapid increase in hospital beds and intensive-care unit.
PM has even urged employers “to be kind” and pay their employee as a matter of fact in a industry of freelancers or contract basis workers such as artists, film industry also on of the biggest is under great loss that has been paying great entertainment taxes, but the government has done nothing, but requested the company owners to be kind. Really? – On the other hand trying to bring economy back liquor sales has been allowed and shown great collection in revenue but people have brutally by passed all the laws of social distancing, 70% hike in liquor price by Delhi government. What a great move ‘Special Corona Fee’ people have added their best mental and physical efforts in failing the fight against the corona.
India’s 53-days lockdown, extended in varying measures, was among the world’s toughest, it hasn’t flattened the curve, contrary to government claims, one of which said there would be no new cases by May 16. “What we are seeing is that the cases are increasing at a linear pace,” the director of India’s premier medical institution, Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences(AIIMS), Dr. Randeep Guleria told this week that “The major problem right now is that we are not seeing a declining trend [as in Italy or China].”
Meanwhile, Modi’s government is pushing ahead with a grandiose Rs 20,000-crore project to build a new parliament building and redesign New Delhi’s Central Vista (instead, the Rajya Sabha announced spending cuts – of Rs 80 crore). In easier times, emotion and grand political statements may distract voters and pay handsome electoral dividends. In a crisis, they are noticeably poor substitutes for governance, subject as they are to diminishing returns and administrative anarchy.
It is really high time for government to figure out the priorities. This is not the right time to have a blame game but just to keep things into notice that rather taking actions regarding fight against pandemic, everyone at power were busy taking Mr. Shivraj Singh Chauhan to the hot seat of State of Madhya Pradesh. Finally, they have reached to the goal too but by then it was too late and Pandemic had already established its foots in the country enormously. There are several foolish calls by centre in these hard times to have a blame game but as stated this is not the time to act foolish. Instead center is required to set their priorities and take actions consequently keeping Republic of India at first then their party seekings.
Results have proven that the lockdown was merely stolen tempting during which the government should have increased the testing capacity and improved health infrastructure. None of which actually happened. All and all, what can be easily extrapolated that the government is seemingly clueless to figure out what is happening and what will happen. This is to urge “Saheb” to take proactive steps and announce the post lockdown plan soon to deal with the inevitable consequences in current scenario without further delay.