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

Ganga heavily polluted with microplastics, finds study

A new study titled, ‘Quantitative analysis of Microplastics along River Ganga’ by Toxics Link has found heavy concentration of microplastics in the Ganga. All samples collected for study from the river at Haridwar, Kanpur and Varanasi were found to be polluted with microplastics.

Maharashtra flood situation grim, rescue works on

At least 79 people were killed and 56 were missing as the flood situation in Maharashtra remained grim on Saturday. Torrential rainfall in various parts of the state, coinciding with high tides and also discharge from dams, led to inundation of many regions and floods caused landslides in some places too.

Maharashtra partners with Climate Group to promote electric vehicles

Within days of announcing its new Electric Vehicle Policy 2021, Maharashtra Friday announced its partnership with Climate Group’s EV100 network to push and promote electric vehicles and reduce CO2 emissions. The policy, meanwhile, was also notified on Friday. Climate Gro

As rains batter Maharashtra, state on red and orange alert

Severe rains battered Raigad, Thane, Ratnagiri, Kolhapur and Satara regions of Maharashtra with rains in Ratnagiri district breaking the 40-year record. As rivers in these districts crossed warning levels, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), Coast Guard, N

Will next wave affect children? That`s mere speculation, says expert

Dr. Praveen Kumar, director, department of pediatrics, Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi, talks about various issues including impact of Covid-19 on children, the need to protect them, and vaccinating pregnant women and lactating mothers. How has the pandemic affected

A public policy bridge across the digital divide

There has been an active debate globally and in India about the digital divide. This debate has gained additional weight during the Covid-19 pandemic because the acceleration of the need for digital access to health and other social services has thrown this issue into sharper relief. A critical public poli

Visionary Talk with Sanjay Jha, Political Analyst On The Current Political Scenario



Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter