Corona’s havoc in the country: Who is responsible for this devastation?
Indians understood that the deadly coronavirus has been eradicated and by February 2021, we were in a state of prosperity. Moving out of the sense of lockdown, the focus was on the rejuvenation of the economy. In a way, there was a sense of victory by defeating the enemy.
Another joy was that many vaccines had come up for vaccination in the world. India was definitely on top as being a major centre for vaccine manufacturing and we had two vaccines – Kovishield and Kovaxin.
The focus was on how to vaccinate a population of over 1.3 billion spread across 29 states and seven union territories.
Obviously, we had a plan for this and it was decided to start a controlled and classified vaccination campaign at various levels for the nation at war level.
The main idea of vaccination was to first immunize those who were most vulnerable. It included people from the front such as health workers, doctors and security forces.
In addition, elders older than 60 years and people with co-morbidity older than 45 years were placed. The campaign was started on March 1, 2021, and the people of these groups were free of cost in government hospitals and vaccines in private hospitals at a nominal cost of Rs 250.
Initially, people had hesitation about the vaccine, as it was developed and tested with double speed. The campaign was blocked initially by opposition politicians and people active on social media.
Who is responsible for Corona’s havoc in India?
Most of the ruling politicians reached out to the people to reassure them about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine and persuaded them to voluntarily vaccinate. India performed better in vaccination and within a month 130 million people took the first dose of the vaccine.
Vaccination of 130 crore people is a big challenge and on average we vaccinate five lakh, people, every day. India is to be commended, as Sri Lanka has a population of 22 million, Israel has a population of 90 million and Uttar Pradesh alone has a population of over 20 crores.
Comparing India to these countries is like comparing berries to watermelons! Everything was going well till now.
Meanwhile, the second wave of corona ensued with new mutants, which exacerbated the problem and shook the nation like a tsunami.
This time the infection spread very fast and more than three lakh new cases of infection started coming in India and thousands of people started dying. Our public health system was not ready for this boom.
Lack of beds in hospitals, shortage of ICU, oxygen and medicines supply. Doctors, hospital staff and testing laboratories are working round the clock to keep pace with this holocaust.
Once a war-like crisis arises, chaos and resentment are at the top. People, especially patients’ relatives and friends get out of control and often misbehave with hospital personnel, who are genuinely helpless.
Since they appear and are present on the spot, they suffer the brunt. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the most visible and trusted leader of 1.3 billion people.
A common man hopes that he will find an immediate solution to everything. Therefore, they are subjected to criticism from everyone.
When you say that the government was sleeping, what does it mean? There is a proper federal framework with well-defined roles to govern a vast country like India.
There are 29 states and seven union territories in the country and all the states have their own chief ministers.
They have a full secretariat with adequate staff. Health is a state subject and everything related to healthcare including license, capacity addition, equipment, staff, budget for hospitals is done by the states separately.
Hospitals are also supervised by the states and each state has a Health Minister, headed by three to four senior bureaucrats. Many of them come from the Indian Administrative Service.
If we calculate, then we will find that there are 36 ministers in a total of 36 institutions (State and Union Territories) and on an average of four bureaucrats per minister, there are 144 bureaucrats.
This means a total of 180 people take care of the health problems of 1.3 billion Indians. Apart from this, the Union Government has a Union Minister of Health. He also has a Minister of State under him. The Secretariat consists of the Health Secretary, at least three Additional Secretaries, more than a dozen Secretaries and several Deputy Secretaries / Directors. This is a good group of about 30 intellectuals in all, many of whom are from the elite IAS cadre. Combining this group with the state structure of senior politicians and bureaucrats, a total of 210 people are only responsible for public health care.
None of these people directly responsible for public health could estimate the speed of the second wave of corona? Whereas they had previous examples of Westerners who faced the second wave of Corona and suffered.
As a result, almost everything was lacking – bed, medicine and oxygen. You cannot blame doctors or nursing staff for this. Political leadership is always briefed by the relevant staff, army or others.
The flow of information is from bottom to top, not from top to bottom in every case. The bureaucracy failed in this and missed out in a big way.
Unfortunately, they are now hiding instead of facing the media, which is targeting the visible icon. To be fair, it is not fair.