Ever since the democratic model of governance came into being in India, the vicious cycle of daavas (claims) and vaadas (promises) has been at the centre-stage, making everything seem fair and justifiable. While some of them are too good to be true, others have found their way through the pages of rulebook into policymaking.
As COVID-19 crisis escalates, a significant proportion of the country’s population is thrown to the winds in the name of making them wait for guidelines to be issued by the PMO. These guidelines, as the daavas suggest, are meant to drive the economy ahead by restarting some of the operations that have come to halt during lockdown 1.0.
It is an irony that despite being regarded as an agrarian nation, the country has, since quite some time now, practising agriculture as its last resort to earn a livelihood. Surprisingly, even a crisis as grave as a pandemic is witnessing the farming community living at the mercy of promises made by the bureaucrats. Fearing loss to their livelihood from long-term unemployment, migrant labourers left for their native place during the first half of lockdown 1.0.
Now, when harvesting is around the corner, farmers are being forced to practice social distancing even as they work in unison to harvest their produce, thresh the grains, and make arrangements for storage until facilities to make the crops available to transport the ripened produce to the markets are available. Some unfortunate ones, in absence of workforce, are resorting to either discarding their produce along the roadside, or letting their livestock graze on unharvested produce.
Amidst this spill-over effect that the corona crisis has resulted in, the take-home message for administration is that, merely making announcements to stave off anxiety and panic is not going to solve problems. If the government cannot deliver what it promises, policymakers will have to be circumspect in word and deed.
It’s time we paid genuine tribute to Dr B.R. Ambedkar by ceasing to treat the Constitution as a mere compendium of principles.