[Editorial Analysis] Let’s put a better fight

Mains Paper 2: Health
Prelims level: Not Much
Mains level: Issues related to Executive and Govt Policies.

Context:

• Health crisis is the overwhelming tragedy of present times.

• For India, it completely wracked off the entire fabric of society.

• The second wave has besieged our battered administrative and infrastructural defenses.

India’s history with the crisis:

• With independence, India inherited the colonial legacy of devastating famines and recurring epidemics.

• Until India become self-sufficient in food grains, India accepted PL 480 grants from the US to protect the vulnerable.

• But with systematic planning and implementation of the green revolution and development OF PDS ensured that India never suffered another famine.
• The success of our past in combating hunger and poverty were national endeavors enlisting the support of all.

Issues with present handling of the crisis:

• The obvious failure of accountability in handling the health crisis.

• To ensure that govt policy and interventions remain faithful to the stated objectives of public welfare, accountability is needed to be steered by the integrity of institutions.

• Despite the remarkable pace of scientific innovation in developing a vaccine, Indian administrative, economic and governance structures failed to anticipate the necessity for a parallel scaling of the public health infra to enable seamless vaccine rollout and provide timely medical supplies.

• The mutation of viruses with the advance of the pandemic was largely ignored when mutant strains first detected within our borders.

• The systematic weakening of complementarities between three tiers of govt has contributed to the escalation of the crisis.

• The complacency led to premature declarations of victory, unthinking rollout of elections and mass congregation.
1. These super-spreader events enabled the virus to proliferate exponentially and made India a laboratory for new and deadlier.

Further consequences:

• Notwithstanding the appalling human costs, the mounting economic costs will push more people into poverty and hunger.

• In the absence of a streamlined and coordinated strategy between all levels of administration, the multiple shocks of the pandemic shall be felt.

Way-Ahead:

• The first step even in the midst of the pandemic is the remediation of institutional ruptures.

• Clear and transparent communication is the need of this hour.

• During this time, govt must need to accommodate the criticisms of its actions and rework them.

• Social media platforms should be free to disseminate useful information rather than persecuted.

• The govt needs to set aside notions of scientific nationalism and must be open to help in any form from the most qualified global agencies.

• At the same time, national resources must be converged on the manufacturing and supplying of pandemic-related equipment.

• A three-pronged approach with mass vaccination, massive health care infra support and medication must be carefully planned, logistically streamline and implemented quickly.

• India needs to adopt swiftly best practices from other nations in contenting health crisis.

Conclusion:

• India may have lost the battle, but India must still prevail in the war. The time has come for national leadership to look within, to put differences and to come together outpouring of support for people.

• The need of the hour is for thoughtful, inclusive and deliberative measures to course correct the actions and strategies to overcome the war.

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Prelims Questions:

Q.1) With reference to the Integrated Goods and Service Tax (IGST), consider the following statements:

1. It is charged when movement of goods and services from one state to another.

2. The revenue out of IGST is shared by state government and central government as per the rates fixed by the authorities.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: C

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