Abhishek Kumar and Zeba Rayee
“India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and great grandmother of tradition. Our most valuable and most constructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only.” Mark Twain
At present, the world is facing a serious crisis in the form of the ongoing pandemic. Coronavirus or COVID-19 originated in the Wuhan city of China has become a headache for the entire world due to its spread and prevalence in almost every region of the globe. The magnitude of the challenge can be understood by the fact that this virus has killed more than one lakh people and almost 12 lakhs are struggling for their lives.
The most developed countries such as the USA, Italy, Spain, France, and the UK equipped with the best health infrastructure seem miserable before this virus. However, on the other hand, a developing country like India stands adamant with full determination while registering minimum human loss in comparison to other nations.
This article outlines the strenuous efforts taken by India at the national and international levels to combat this pandemic. On the one side, India is shielding its citizens from this deadly virus and on the other side, she is assisting other countries in their battle.
India as an Epitome of Success in Fighting Coronavirus
Recently, India has scored perfectly 100 on “Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker” developed by Oxford University to measure governments’ response to COVID-19 by 73 countries. The tracker is based on indicators such as school closures, travel bans, emergency investment in healthcare, fiscal measure, and investment in vaccines by the governments. India thus has emerged as an epitome of success in fighting coronavirus.
But the question which is striking every mind that who is responsible for this outstanding performance of India? There are mainly four notable factors behind it. First, the pro-active approach of the Government of India, Second, devoted civil servants, medical staff, police, and sanitization workers. Third, people’s participation and Fourth, the role of NGOs, community organizations, and philanthropists.
1. Pro-active Approach of the Indian Government
Kautilya mentioned in his Saptanga theory that the most essential function of a king is to protect the lives of his people. This prudent and duty-based advice of Kautilya is actualized in the actions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The government of India under the strong leadership of Narendra Modi took several measures to ensure the safety and security of the people. First and foremost, India invoked Epidemic Diseases Act 1897 so that advisories of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare could be enforced in all states and Union Territories without any difference and all governments could fight against coronavirus collectively. The cheering point here is that there is no fissure between central and state governments on this serious issue and all state governments are fully cooperating with the central government.
Second, when most advanced countries such as the USA, UK, France, and Italy could not understand the intensity of the forthcoming situation, the Indian government rightly figured out the upcoming possible scenario and therefore, declared 21 days locked down at the right time. As a consequence, India succeeded to break the chain of rapidly spreading coronavirus while restraining it to the second stage. Moreover, India has ensured the security of its citizens in various countries as well. As the virus started to spread in several countries, the Indian government airlifted its citizens successfully. Additionally, those citizens who had returned from various countries were screened at airports.
Third, the government is tirelessly working at three levels- testing, tracing, and treatment. At the testing level, the government is conducting thousands of tests per day. Under this process, those who are being found positive, are being hospitalized for intensive care. At tracing level, the government is searching all those people who have or might have come in the contact of corona patients, these people have been quarantined and they are under observation. At the treatment level, the government is ensuring free treatment to all corona patients.
Fourth, the government has aggressively utilized all electronic, print, and social media platforms for campaigning against Coronavirus. In this row, the “AarogyaSetu” App has been launched to foster awareness among masses. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is communicating about the DOs and DONTs, the precautions which should be taken during this tough time, and how to approach medical help in case of symptoms appear. The government measures are accompanied by celebrities’ humble appeal to stay at home and sanitize more frequently. Further, the film industry’s newly launched theme song “Fir Muskurayega India” is a ray of hope in this phase of despondency.
Fifth, the government of India has announced Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Package, worth of 1.7 lakh crore to fight with COVID-19. An insurance scheme under PM Gareeb Kalyan Yojna for health workers who are attending coronavirus patients has been started. Under this scheme, every health worker will be covered with 50 lakh insurance in case any eventuality occurs while performing his/her duty. Under Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Ann Yojna almost 80 crore people are to get 5 kg free rice and wheat per month for the next three months. Under Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna, women account holders will receive 500 rupees per month for the next three months.
2. Devoted Civil Servants, Medical Staff, Police and Sanitation workers
Today, the exceptional performance of the government in dealing with coronavirus has amazed the world but the question persists, who is behind the curtain for this impressive result? Undoubtedly, there is an army of people who are sleeplessly working amidst the pandemic. India is blessed with some astute minds in the form of civil servants. These civil servants in the Home Ministry, Health Ministry, and in all districts are closely monitoring every situation in the country concerning the spread of the virus. They are forming policies and implementing them effectively at the grass-root level. Likewise, the medical staff including doctors, nurses, and compounders, most prone to get infected, fighting at the forefront while attending and treating infected patients. The police are contributing significantly, checking people stay at their homes. Meanwhile, the sanitation workers are assisting in sanitizing the premises affected by the coronavirus.
3. People’s Participation
The most notable factor behind the success of India in its struggle with coronavirus is the participation of people. People have always shown their devotion to society. It is deeply embedded in our values. The present contribution of citizens in nationwide lockdown is the true manifestation of these values. When citizens of countries such as the USA and Italy were roaming around while violating the lockdown, a new awakening was noticed among Indians as most of them disciplined themselves and obeyed the lockdown. This is the single incident in the entire history that 1.3 billion people locked themselves behind the doors on just one declaration by the government. Therefore, the success demonstrated now, is the consequence of the exemplary patience shown by the people of India.
4. The Role of NGOs, Community Organizations and Philanthropists
One of the principal teachings of Bhagwat Gita “Seva Parmo Dharma (Service is the highest religion)” has a great impression on Indian minds. The way the number of NGOs and community organizations have come forward to help needy ones is remarkable. These NGOs and community organizations are providing food and other essential services to homeless people, migrants, and labourers. Besides, several philanthropists such as Ratan Tata, Azim Premji, Akshay Kumar, Sachin Tendulkar, and others have donated their voluntary contribution to Prime Minister Cares Fund.
India as Determined Crusader in Combating Coronavirus
The outbreak of this pandemic intensified the speculations that it would greatly hit South Asia but vision and dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi invalidated it. At the earliest, Modi called the meeting of the head of governments of SAARC countries and ask to make strong arrangements to fight this pandemic. He also proposed establishing a new SAARC Emergency Fund to neutralize the ramifications of this pandemic. Hence, south Asian states succeeded to minimize the devastation.
Furthermore, India is fulfilling its international commitment. India is helping almost 30 countries including the USA, UK, Brazil, and Israel while sending the essential supplies of the live-saving drug -hydroxychloroquine. These countries are applauding the vigorous efforts of the Indian government. Thus, India is playing a pivotal role in fighting coronavirus.
The existing crisis revealed the staunch reality of the governance system of different countries. On the one hand, it depicts that the countries which are the embodiment of capitalism such as the USA, UK, France, and Italy have failed severely to protect their citizens from the pandemic. On the other hand, the largest communist country China is incapable to secure its citizens and has dragged the entire humanity in jeopardy while exporting coronavirus to almost all countries. Thus, failure of both prominent ideologies is making room for the third way and that may be traced in India.
The state prioritized the lives of people over the economy unlike the US and delegated some powers to the public sector (DRDO making PPE suits and Ventilators), private sector (Testing and treating people) and community organizations (distributing food and other essential services) to perform collectively unlike China. Thus, India transformed itself according to the situation and set an example of the success that will be remembered for a longer period
Abhishek Kumar is Research Scholar at Centre for Federal Studies at Jamia Hamdard University. He has done his Master’s and Bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Delhi.
Zeba Rayee is a doctoral candidate at Centre for European Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University.
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