India is learning to live with Covid-19

As lockdown nears scheduled end, dilemma of lives vs livelihoods raises its head again

GN Bureau | May 12, 2020


#Delhi   #Chief Ministers   #lockdown   #healthcare   #narendra modi   #prime minister   #epidemic   #coronavirus   #COVID-19   #Gujarat   #Maharashtra   #railways  
PM Modi with home minister Amit Shah and health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan during the video conferencing with the chief ministers on Monday.
PM Modi with home minister Amit Shah and health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan during the video conferencing with the chief ministers on Monday.

As the world’s most extensive and arguably strictest lockdown completes 50 days, India remains in double mind: there are good arguments for and against extending the movement restrictions. The preference seems to be for a step-by-step, calibrated move towards opening up – beginning with the railways on Tuesday.

The world’s biggest railway network had closed down around March 24, when prime minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day lockdown. While goods trains continued to play to move essential items, special passenger trains have been run in limited numbers to help migrant labourers from big cities reach native places. Still, Sunday’s announcement of resuming normal rail services with 15 pairs of trains from Tuesday surprised many. The booking was opened Monday afternoon, and there was heavy rush which jammed the IRCTC servers for a while.

Also on Monday, the PM held a video conference with the chief ministers for the fifth time since the Covid-19 outbreak began in March. Many states like the worst-hit Maharashtra called for extension of the lockdown, while many including the next worst-hit Gujarat and Delhi favoured partial reopening.

In the video conference, PM Modi said, “We now have reasonably clear indication as to the geographical spread of the pandemic in India, including the worst affected areas. Moreover, over the past few weeks, officials have understood operating procedures in a time such as this, right up to the district level.” He said that this understanding of the spread of COVID-19 will help the country in having a focussed fight against it.

“And therefore, we can now further focus our strategy in this battle against coronavirus, as should be the case. We have a twofold challenge – to reduce the transmission rate of the disease, and to increase public activity gradually, while adhering to all the guidelines, and we will have to work towards achieving both these objectives”, he said.

He said now the effort should be to stop the spread of the COVID-19 to rural areas. He added that the suggestions made by the States for a roadmap on Economy have been given due consideration.

While halting the spread of coronavirus is the top priority, it is equally necessary to provide economic opportunities when tens of thousands of unemployed migrant labourers are facing an existential crisis. The states too need revenues to continue basic operations, leading to the opening of liquor stores in many cities.

The debate over the lives and livelihoods is playing out even as on Monday the country recorded a high number of new infections. An official note said there was an increase of 4,213 Covid-19 confirmed cases in India, taking the total number to 67,152. Tamil Nadu in particular showed an unusual spike, while the top states – Maharashtra, Gujarat and Delhi – showed no respite. Meanwhile, a total of 20,917 people have been cured by Monday, taking the total recovery rate to 31.15%.

Extended twice, the lockdown is scheduled to end on May 17. However, the country has been divided in red, orange and green zones depending on the spread of the pandemic and many relaxations are already on in areas outside the red zones.




 

Comments

 

Other News

“Whoever has a smartphone and a social media account is a journalist today”

In a scathing attack on media, political analyst Shehzad Poonawala has said that the time of media is gone and anyone with a smartphone and a social media account  can be a journalist today. While speaking to Kailashnath  Adhikari, MD, Governance Now, during the Visionary Talk seri

All you want to know about Republic Day celebrations 2021

India is celebrating the 72nd Republic Day on Tuesday. Attendance at the main celebrations in the capital is limited given the pandemic, yet Covid-19 has not dampened the spirit of the occasion. India’s military might, cultural diversity and social-economic progress will be on display at the majestic

How much time do you spend talking on phone?

How much time do Indians spend talking on phone? It is on average 761 minutes per month, according to a new report from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). The telecom regulator released its report, titled ‘The Indian Telecom Services Performance Indicators: July-Septemb

“Developing public health infrastructure key to sustainable healthcare for all”

Renowned cardiologist Dr Ramakanta Panda has said that the pandemic has exposed the inadequacy of existing healthcare systems and it is wrong to draw comparisons with Korea, a country with the population equal to that of a single Indian state. While speaking to Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Gove

SC-appointed panel on farm laws holds first meet

The committee of experts appointed by the supreme court to deliberate with the stakeholders on the new farm laws held its first meeting here Tuesday, with one of its members saying that all stakeholders, including individual farmers, will be heard. Hearing a petition on the farm laws enacted

India’s glitch-free vaccination gathers pace

The nationwide vaccination campaign launched Saturday, the largest such exercise in the world, has started setting new benchmarks, with vaccines administered to 2,24,301 beneficiaries in the first two days. “India has vaccinated the highest number of persons on Day1 under its COVID19 v

Visionary Talk with Shehzad Poonawalla On the State of Current Affairs





Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter