“This is a time for domestic solidarity and unity. I encourage the Government to draw on India’s vibrant civil society to reach out to the most vulnerable sectors of society, to ensure no one is left behind in this time of crisis”, concluded the High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet.
Amidst the worldwide pandemic that we are fighting today, the need to analyze the upcoming and present challenges put forth before India is of vital importance. We all are aware of the severe health sector crisis and resource drain that is happening in the present times. Not to deny the fact that India is taking some bold measures to ensure the virus spread doesn’t happen at a community level. Hence, the World Health Organisation has stated that India’s decision for a nationwide 21-day lockdown is robust and comprehensive.
India is a country that hosts one-sixth of the world’s population; hence it goes without saying that fighting a pandemic isn’t a cakewalk. Therefore, we need to discuss as to what are the different possibilities to be identified when fighting an epidemic.
Firstly I would talk about the threats that India is having presently. Scrolling through those horrific crowding images, we must have come across a lot of scepticism against India’s planning and execution strategies. However, what needs to be understood is that the enormous population of the country is a significant issue; therefore, the rapid ground level realization of relief is also becoming a farfetched idea.
Secondly, the lack of resources and limited access to them at various outlets is a major cause of concern. According to an article by BBC, “Many believe India is also testing below scale because it fears that patients could swamp its under-resourced and uneven public health system. India could be buying time to stock up on testing kits and add isolation and hospital beds. I know mass testing is not a solution, but our testing appears to be too limited. We need to quickly expand to restrict community transmission,” said K Sujatha Rao, former federal health secretary and author of But Do We Care: India’s Health System.
We haven’t taken two minutes to think before condemning the abrupt crowding at the bus depots by the migrant labourers. Today, we need to step into their shoes and analyze their plight during such havoc. Nearly 52% of the migrant workers in our country belong to the unorganized sector hence lack enough legal and financial backing to sustain their lives. Instances of extreme exploitation, such as beating and spraying disinfectants on these people, lead to further stigmatization leading to heightened atrocities.
The various aspects of the response policy of the Government need to be studied deeply. The lack of ground-level resources and the latest reports of violations of lockdown is evident. The cases of a police officer’s hand being chopped off and doctors made to face the endless trauma and atrocities hailed upon them is horrific. Amidst this, we need to realize that specific aggressive measures need to adopted to monitor the developments in the pandemic outgrowth closely.
Now let’s talk about the economic aspect of this pandemic. We very well understand that this a time of quick action, and we shouldn’t be bothering much about how much the Government is spending only to fight such an aggravating situation. After all, life comes first; however, in hindsight, most of the economists are taking a closer look at the economic setback and formulating possible outcomes once this pandemic is over. The rate of unemployment has increased, and the worst hit is the small business that are now planning to fire most of their employees. The disruption in the supply chain has affected the farmers who aren’t able to sell their produce. The expected GDP growth of India has decelerated to the lowest 3%.
Now let’s come down to the possible solutions that India needs to implement to cope up with this situation.
In a nutshell, the need for better resources and ground-level realization in India is essential; however, nothing is impossible with the constant support and cooperation of the civil society. Hence I would quote Swami Vivekananda, “In the heart of things there is Unity still.”