By K Raveendran
It is high time Prime Minister Narendra Modi reigned in his impetuosity in taking decisions that affect the destiny of the nation. It is true that he stakes his prime ministership by such thoughtless action, but that is insignificant compared to the price that the nation is called upon to pay.
Instances abound of Modi announcing plans without thinking through them. The latest one was the ambitious plan to wean away global players from China, which is unquestionably the world’s manufacturing hub. The idea was predicated on his own ambition as well as the euphoria over the initial success of India in dealing with the Covid outbreak, contrasting itself with the disruption caused to the global supply chain due to the impact of the pandemic on China.
He was convinced that the pandemic has brought India’s moment for shaping a new world order with its epicentre in country. It was as though ‘value chain’ caught his fancy and became the latest catch word in government parlance.
“Today, there is greater trust in India and there is renewed hope… The world is looking for a trusted, reliable partner, India has the potential, strength and ability. Industry must take full advantage of the trust that has developed in India,” he extolled the captains of industry at an annual congregation of the Confederation of Indian Industry.
Modi then boasted about India assuming a leadership role in the fight against coronavirus and claimed that the decision to rush medical supplies to over 150 countries during the global health emergency when no country was in a position to help others, and that this had enhanced goodwill that would benefit the Indian industry.
But value chain takes much more than speeches and declaration of pious intentions to materialise. China’s emergence as the global factory did not happen overnight, which is what Modi is seeking to achieve for India. China’s success is a saga that has taken years of painful labour by the faceless and right-less average Chinese worker.
It did not take much time to emerge that the euphoria about India’s success, which Modi made a big show of, was completely misplaced. In contrast, China is back to business in right earnest and it has also moved down in the list of countries that have been affected most by the pandemic. It will take much convincing for any global player to move lock, stock and barrel to India from China.
In contrast, India is in the fourth position and only three more countries, US, Brazil and Russia, are ahead of it in terms of caseload. It is anybody’s guess as to when it will go past these countries as the situation is deteriorating fast. The number has already crossed the 3 lakh figure and the time it is most likely to take to reach the next lakh is expected to be much shorter than the move from 2 lakh to 3 lakh.
The government continues to play down the risk, but the reality is that the pandemic situation in the country is dangerously bad. The observations made by the Supreme Court over the deplorable conditions in hospitals across the country are indeed shocking.
The court has likened the treatment meted out to Covid patients and the dead in government hospitals are worse than what animals would have to suffer. In one case, the body of a dead man found in the garbage.
In the national capital, the seat of the Modi government, patients are running from pillar to post to get themselves admitted even though a large number of beds in government hospitals are lying vacant, the court noted. Patients are lying unattended in the lobby and waiting areas of hospitals. The image of a Covid patient being chained to a bed in a hospital in Madhya Pradesh is as appalling as it is repulsive.
We have heard about doctors in Italy facing the hard choice of deciding which of two patients is to be left to die for want of a ventilator for both, but never imagined such things could happen in India. But unfortunately, hospitals are overflowing with Covid patients with the healthcare infrastructure turning out to be woefully inadequate to meet the unprecedented challenge.
The apex court intervened after sickening scenes of miseries heaped on the millions of migrant workers had woken it up to the reality of India’s pandemic situation after weeks of slackness fed by unrealistic assurances by the government. (IPA Service)