Some lessons for India under Covid 19

Radhakanta Barik

India has entered into lockdown second phase but administration has received the kits which are going to be distributed to all states. Announcement of lockdown should have gone after proper planning by which testing should have started on the day one. Public policy demands the administration knows the various administrative mechanisms for acquiring the tools and personnel by which management of the policy is possible. Modi government has not done homework and kits have reached after the announcement of the second phase of Lockdown and implementation of the Lockdown has been done already for three weeks. The adhoc policy making needs to be analyzed and the responsibility needs to be fixed who are accountable for these lapses. Why such a hurried announcement of Lockdown which has disrupted our economy and pushed the ten percentages of laboring class out of the boundary of cities. They are struck up without food and water. Public administration believes in transparency and accountability but both are missing here. The PMO needs to be made accountable and heads need to be rolled down for fixing the responsibility otherwise the Prime Minister will not be trusted by its citizens.

India has to import testing kits for the Coronavirus from China which have been developed in the last three months during the Covid 19. Furthermore there are two hospitals with 1500 beds have been constructed in the meantime. A month is passing but Modi's India is suffering from lack of health facilities but no new hospitals have been constructed till now. The old hospitals have been overburdened today. Private hospitals are minting money although it is fixed at Rs 4500. No research regarding testing kits or ventilators as Modi has discouraged the public sector and many of the public sector units are on sale and the private sector in India has never invested in research and development. Till today all researches have been conducted in the public hospitals and colleges and research centres. The private capital is not ready to take risk for investing in research and they missed the opportunity during the Human Genome project. It is developed by the Western and American industry. Modi's India will be starving new findings new knowledge and new university or colleges. Biotechnology adviser to PM told the NDtv that we have very good doctors, scientists and technocrats who are able to create new ideas but they will disappear after some time when the modern research labs are dying without new funding.

Nobel Laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez's novel 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' needs to be read today on the occasion of his anniversary that he caricatured the military generals who used to rule over the Latin America. They were noisiest lot. In one scene the colonel had sex with someone and that sex scene gets discussed in the whole city as noise reaches to everybody. The rulers provided the buses to Gujarati tourists to be shifted to Gujarat. The rulers have provided buses to the students in Kota. No buses no trains for the migrant workers. No food and no money for them. They are committing suicides now. The district magistrate of Gurugoan which has renamed in the name of Guru Dronaacharya recently says that the labour who committed suicide is mentally unstable. Few days back, there was a discussion in India Today where Rajdeep Sardesai raised a question to R K Sinha MP a thinker of the RSS regarding the discrimination. He said for five minutes without answering the question to Rajdeev that he concluded the discussion for the first time that the present day rulers discriminate on the basis of poverty that poor migrant labour can be discriminated and they are not provided any bus they had to walk for hundred kms. But tourists and students can be provided. Once I was travelling to Baroda to give lectures in the university and the plane to Baroda got delayed as a group of women from the city had gone to meet Prime Minister where they were struck up. They came to the airport and proudly said that the plane could wait for them. It is a show of power like the generals of Latin America.

After the lockdown most of the states are in the control of the situation. There has been a steady decline of cases in terms of corona but failing in Gujarat and MP. In Gujarat model, Modi gave the priority to hold a function in the honor of Trump which has created a large number of corona cases as they sat in the stadium without bothering of social distance. MP has a large number of cases as they were busy in overthrowing the Congress government and replaced with the BJP government. The BJP government does not have a health minister. Modi doesn't give priority to management of corona virus but doing politics. In an interview with a young man who says emphatically that all are getting roti. This confidence explains that non availability of food during Lockdown has not reached him as the media has not reported the important information during the period. Moreover the Godi media is silent of such an important incident in public life that 10 percentages of migrant labour are living without roti and without water and income are not reported in the electronic media except few. It seems that there are double lockdowns: one is lockdown because of coronavirus and another lockdown because of black out information in the electronic media while the publication of print media had been suspended.

 Kerala has managed well the crisis created by Coronavirus which has been analysed by Rabin Jaffrey, a leading political scientist. He praises Kerala model of managing the crisis produced out Covid19. According to him the women empowerment plays an important role in Kerala Model of development. Here one does not disagree with him but there are many states in India where women participation in development is praiseworthy such as Tamilnadu, Bengal and Kerala and Odisha are doing well in the domain of women participation in developmental activities. Then the second reason he finds the Kerala model of two-party system where political competition and collaboration are going on. But today in Kerala the Hindutva forces are emerging in a big way and they sabotaged the policy of temple entry movement for women despite the supreme court judgment supported the government. Hindutva a biggest threat to Indian democracy and developmental model of Kerala which needs to be recognized otherwise the way Communists and Congress collaborated in handling the flood management to health disaster needs to be underlined. Public in Kerala in India recognizes the real threat is coming from the Hindutva forces which help the political democracy thrives in the state.

The cabinet Secretary gave a statement that the foreign returned people for last three months was 15 Lakhs and by testing them for Coronavirus would have costed a very little whereas Modi went for the Lockdown for a period more than month which would bring down the economy by three percentages. It was predicated that economy would grow at 4.3 percentages which is lowest for the last two decades. With lockdown it has been reduced to now 1.3 of growth and forty million people got reduced to BPL and it created a huge loss and sufferings to millions of migrant labour and anxieties for their families living in rural India. It has increased the unemployment rate to 23 percentages. In decision making process one looks for various alternatives according to the Nobel Laureate Simon. Rationality is the basis of such a model which explains the economic and reasonable action within the system. Modi went for a Lockdown which has been sponsored by the developed countries. India being a tropical country there would have been less loss to human beings but he went for a model which disconnects lives from livelihoods. His advisers need to be punished for such a fiasco otherwise a democratically elected leader can be punished by people only in the general election.

There is a painting of a hungry human being without any belly as the person has not eaten for days which speak out the thousand stories of the present times we are going through. Long back I was there in Nilgiri the place from where the minister Sarangi hails from. Baba Ramdev came there to teach the tribal people how to reduce the Tommy when they had none. This is the story today in many parts of India as food is not reaching there. Baba should make a medicine which can replace food by which poor can survive without demanding food from Modi and his food minister Ram Vilash Paswan a great follower of JP became a leader of the movement and speaking that they cannot give food now which is in storage which is meant for difficult times in future. Will be there any difficult time which is going to be worse than this when ten percentages of people who work as migrant labour are without food. Paswan must be knowing what is a difficult time in his life experience as a humble man but it does not seem he understands the pain of the hungry man. Modi as chaiwala needs to look for a chaiwala on the roads of Delhi who have disappeared from Delhi who must be without food today but neither PM or Food Minister coming from humble background understands the pains of hunger when power has entered into their stomach which has replaced food today. A migrant worker could not feed his family and tried to feed them by selling his mobile phone by Rs2500 but it got exhausted in no time.

No state help came to these people. Nobel Laureates are pleading with the Modi government to provide them in a package to take care of these ten percentages of people but no avail yet. Modi government is sleeping after the announcement of lockdown for second time but without any step in the direction of the ten percentages of people which is bigger than the State of Germany. The Gurugaon administration declares him mentally unstable which is a profound observation on the working people but no action yet. Lockdown a strategy is to push the poor from out of boundary of the smart city.

After seeing a long Queue of poor women in western UP for getting Rs.500 per month by Modi government in Jan dhan account one tries to understand the economics of poor family. I was talking to a Rickshaw puller who is above 70 in our home town in Jagatsinghpur of Odisha according to him “I get Rs600 as pension plus 35 KG of rice and I earn Rs100 per day as nobody wants to use the Rickshaw now a days." It comes around 3600 plus 35 KG of rice for just to have ends meet. This is perhaps the lowest amount Indian state can spend for each to survive otherwise they will be pushed to below the starvation line. Today as towns are being declared Lockdown in the state of Odisha he is managing his both ends meet by 600 plus 35KG of rice. The lesson we can draw from this that food must be given by the government as there is 80million tons of food in FCI gowdan and hundred per day which comes around three thousand per a family of two in rural areas which is going to be different in cities as they live in a rented place. Otherwise 30 percentages of people will slowly die of hunger than coronavirus.

 Is Modi anti youth? In handling the coronavirus impact on Indian society he is proving that he is anti-youth. The young who walked on GT road hundred kms had enough strength to fight the virus but they were adding value to economy by doing sheer work and selling their labour in the market. By closing the industries Modi proves that he is for trading not for industry which adds value to economy. Who are these migrant labour and they belong to ten percentages of Indian population although youth between the age of 16 to 25 are working either in agriculture or industry? By closing down these vital activities of economy Modi proves that he is anti-youth and he is antii industry and anti-agriculture. He functions as a retailer in politics and economy and the party's base is the trading class which is being handled by the old today. Modi proves through handling of Corona virus is for the old who lack energies and imagination to produce wealth in terms of value addition. Modi's 21days of fighting against Corona is like the Phulwama who has not built any new medical college and have not provided the army of doctors, nurses and sweepers with PPE. There is a shortage of medicine as he has allowed to export to America under pressures. He has opened private financial services in his name which is different from Prime Minister's Relief Fund. He has not provided any economic package for poor, small shop keepers or small industries yet. The famous scientists from India were of opinion that India is in an advantageous position that many developed and developing countries as we have a huge young population who are between 16 to 25 around 34.33% share of youth in total population by 2020. These youths are educated and literate and skilled semi-skilled and some are unskilled who used to work in the informal sector of economy and adding value to total wealth. This pride has disappeared as they remain hungry during the COVID19 and without any work. They were forced to walk hundreds of miles to their villages. There are cracks in their legs and foots and which need to be cured but they do not visit the doctors as there is a fear of Coronavirus. They are being attacked by the police on the way and they were forced to kneel down. The Modi government made them from advantageous position to disadvantageous position in Indian economy. There is a fear in ruling class and they may come to the streets and protest the moment the Lockdown gets withdrawn. Modi is thinking of some form of control over them by declaring some form of disease act of 1897. This is not a valid law as the law needs to be passed by the parliament without that this act has no legal authority.

So many days he had a sound sleep as there was no strike of commoners be it Shaheen Bagh or workers or farmers strike. There was no print media which gave him sound sleep as the editors have agreed to give favourable reports but in some corners there are reports against the deaths due to hunger or inoculating communal virus while fighting against Corona virus. His sound sleep has not got disturbed because of students of JNU or DU or Jamia. Better to extend till May 3 as there will be no May Day strike as workers will not congregate as there are 144 all over India. Modi has gone for extension of the Lockdown till May 3. This is being done without providing any responsibility towards its citizens. In his address he appeals to the rich to provide help the poor. Here the state has withdrawn completely. A state in the era of neo liberalism period has withdrawn to some extent by providing some form of social security such work under the NREGA and provision of free school education and health facilities. Modi government is not interested to show his commitment to the people of India by providing social package in the time of national emergency situation arose because of the Coronavirus.

 So many economists spoke of going for 5% of GDP. His government will remain within 1 percentage of GDP by which poor will die. There is a plenty of food in FCI but no special package by the government. This is going to be worse April in the lives of people. As TS Eliot says 'April is the cruelest month' perhaps he is right to prove the point in the case of India. Modi-2 is based on islamphobiac politics as they have done worse on the economic front and they have done badly in the assembly elections of many states. It is being conceptualized by Modi Shah who brought citizenship amendment law based on anti-Muslim. The way they are demolishing the Indian Constitution shows that they have an alternative concept of state that is Hindurastra which is based on social hierarchy and Manu Sasthra. During the Lockdown of Corona virus they were looking for an anti-Islamic element in it. Their administration allowed the congregation of a religious group from various parts of the world specifically Malaysia which is badly affected by Corona. They knowingly did it at the time of spread of Corona virus. They allowed a congregation of their supporters in Ahmadabad in welcoming the President of American Trump. Both these congregations have helped in the spread of coronavirus. But intelligently they spoke the issue of Nizammuddin. Today Gujarat is experiencing the worst Corona as it is not within their control. Small group of ministers appointed by Modi has warned the states like Bengal and Rajasthan but not Gujarat as it is their model state. They have some anti-Islamic politicians who spoke nonsense for some days now which has been taken up by the association of Islamic countries who give most of the jobs to our migrant labour.This has come to such a mess that Prime Minister has condemned the anti-Islamic statements. He does sometimes when the cow vigilantes played a havoc with the law and order situation then the PM gave a statement. The same way he has given a statement when the issue is now a foreign policy issue. But at the same time these MPs who spoke such nonsense have not been reprimanded or punished by the party yet. It is a party exists in an environment of Islamphobia and otherwise it has no ontological basis in Indian politics.

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Apr 25, 2020

Prof. Radhakanta Barik

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