When one fails, one might listen to what critics say.
The worst aspect of Modi/shah politics is that their politicking is meant to incite and polarise , to the detriment of forgetting other serious issues . Caa politics were allowed till it led to riots and later continued right into the pandemic. The farmers protest was allowed to block roads, the tractor protests were allowed on jan 26,Lot of mindspace was captured by these events , followed by bengal elections. All of this politicking meant that most people did not focus on covid. While I did consider the possibility of covid returning in summer again, having read about the correlation of covid and humidity
, I had clearly forgotten about it with all the politicking around.
We all missed the ball due to the political atmosphere that was cooked up , however, we are not paid for the job so are not equally responsible, I suspect many would have done better if paid to do so, the rising numbers should have alerted the experts. Modi ran a quasi presidential system without checks. Had he succeeded , he would deserve the credit, but now that he has failed and we stand naked in front of the world, we might listen to the critics who warned us.
There are many things the best of scientists still do not know about this virus. But some we know. The virus doesn’t vote. Nor does it care about who wins or loses. It can’t be polarised. It spreads sickness, misery and death, irrespective of politics or faith. It feeds on political hubris.”
There is as clear a declaration and celebration of victory against the virus as you could imagine. When the pandemic began, the world was so concerned about India, that a tsunami of infections was going to hit us, Modi said. There were people predicting 700-800 million Indians getting infected and more than two million dying. But India didn’t let this happen and saved humanity from a big disaster, he said.
He talked about how India had built capacities in no time, the world’s biggest vaccination programme has been launched on the back of two ‘Made in India’ vaccines with many more to come, and how India is now out to save the world by exporting these.”
Next exhibit, see here, the resolution passed by the BJP National Executive in February. It was a stirring declaration of victory against the virus. “It can be said with pride,” it read, that “India not only defeated Covid under the able, sensible, committed and visionary leadership of Prime Minister Modi, but also infused in all its citizens the confidence to build an Atma Nirbhar Bharat”. The resolution was so effusive, it’s a surprise it stopped short of asking that a victory arch be built. We quote again: “The party unequivocally hails its leadership for introducing India to the world as a proud and victorious nation in the fight against Covid.”
It said “the world has applauded” India’s achievement, and then also praises the “appeal for activities like clapping and clanging of thalis, lighting of diyas, showering of flowers over hospitals”. India, it said, stands tall, especially with its “vaccine victory” and moving in the “direction of complete triumph over Covid”.”
Ram Guha, the historian shared this.
” “In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic,” I wrote, “the country faces probably its greatest challenge since Partition… This pandemic and its fallout have already led to enormous human suffering, and this will multiply. In this scenario, to restore social trust and to rebuild the economy may be beyond the abilities of one man and his small circle of trusted advisers.””
On 24th February this year, Modi joined stalin, hitler, gaddafi, mussolini, saddam hussain in having a stadium be named after him.
While President Biden on Feb 27 informed in a speech , ” In five weeks, America has administered the most shots of any country in the world, with among the highest percentage of population fully vaccinated. That’s progress we promised. It’s also true while covid 19 vaccinations are up, covid cases and hospitalisations are coming down. But I need to be honest with you,cases and hospitalisations could go back up,with new variants as they emerge.So, I want to make something very clear: THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO RELAX. we must keep washing our hands, stay socially distanced,and for God’s sake, wear a mask.”
This degree of screw up would not be possible without failure of bureaucracy. But that only reflects his choice of bureaucrats .
Further information revealed tells us that the covid task force did not meet in february and march inspite of surge.
““It became abundantly clear in mid February that India was heading towards a devastating second wave,” one member of the national taskforce said. All three scientists spoke on the condition of anonymity. “When things in Maharashtra started going out of hand, some of us tried to flag this issue,” the first member added. The taskforce, however, did not meet during this crucial time. A second member of the taskforce told me that a meeting of the body was “not convened” unless the government “wanted us to rubber stamp some decision already taken by politicians.””
“Another significant lapse, the members told me, the Indian Council of Medical Research’s failure to update the treatment protocol for COVID-19 in the past nine months, since July 2020.”
” The ICMR’s failure to update the treatment guidelines in line with global standards have also resulted in a thriving black market for remdesivir that continues to prey on vulnerable families.”
When one runs the govt on a quasi presidential style manner, without checks and balances, without meeting scientists directly and consults very narrowly, it becomes a system ripe for missing out on crucial information. The failures of various chief ministers of various states also needs to be called into question, however, the final solution to this pandemic was always going to be vaccinations at the earliest. And India has emerged as the biggest affordable pharma in the world. And the data for efficacy of astrazenca was already available by december end.https://www.businesstoday.in/current/corporate/oxford-university-astrazeneca-coronavirus-vaccine-70-effective-lancet-journal/story/424291.html
And government did not give vaccine manufacturers the necessary credit to increase their capacity or secure doses while other countries like US did at the earliest.
One wonders by which date were they hoping to cover the vaccination of the population by?. It seems, they never considered the possibility of second wave. Or they would have chosen to vaccinate atleast the vulnerable population at the earliest.
Indian economy was on downturn before 2020 covid hit India. After 7 years, it is time to start asking questions on competence of government on all other issues and in particular on economic growth and the timeline by which it expects it to deliver.
One must admit that for the degree of power he held without checks , this failure is almost entirely due to his personality as ram guha informs us.
“My own analysis is very different. Narendra Modi has been a disappointment as a Prime Minister not because he has bad advisers or because some good advisers died relatively young, but because of his own faults and failings”
“The first trait is the suspicion of experts and expertise. As a self-made man, who has risen to the top on the basis of his own intelligence, his own drive, and his own will-power, Modi is suspicious of those with formal qualifications from elite institutions. His statement that he preferred “hard work to Harvard” was a striking manifestation of this belief”
The second trait, which is related to the first, is the cult of personality that the Prime Minister has built around himself. As a technocrat who has worked with the PM once told me, the rule that all advisers have to observe is “total obsequiousness, no credit”. The line with which the Prime Minister fought and won the 2019 elections, ‘Modi Hai toh Mumkin Hai’, says it all. Only Modi will defeat terrorism, Modi and Modi alone will humiliate Pakistan (and now China), Modi by himself will eliminate corruption, Modi will surely make India the Vishwa Guru – this is the sort of thinking that is ubiquitous within the ruling party and the central government. But a large and complex country like India cannot be governed effectively and well through the force of one person’s will – however farsighted and hardworking that individual might be.
For all the confidence and strength he exudes, the behaviour of the Prime Minister suggests that he is, within himself, a somewhat insecure man. This is evident not just in his reluctance to publicly praise his ministers or advisers when they do a good job, but also in the sort of people he relies on for advice. The preponderance of Gujarat cadre officers around him and in positions of influence in the central government is one sign. A second is his tendency to shun some outstanding IAS officers, merely because they once held important positions in Congress governments. Even within the top ranks of the IAS, loyalty to the Leader, and not the quality of one’s intellect, is what the Modi Government prizes most.”
“If the Acche Din promised by Narendra Modi in May 2014 still remain elusive a full six years after he became Prime Minister, then the buck must stop with Narendra Modi himself. Not the death of a trusted colleague, not the incompetence of a few officers in his inner circle, but his own megalomania, his own suspicion of experts, his own reluctance to share credit, and his own inability to transcend the sectarian ideology that he embraced as a young man – it is these traits of Narendra Modi himself that explain why history will judge him far more harshly than his naïve and trusting supporters believe or hope.”
And the govt declaring vaccines to be open for all above age 18 also seems another jumla. we clearly do not have enough vaccines for everyone.
According to the agency, serum institute can produce 70 million vaccines this month, 100 million vaccines next month, covaxin can produce 10 million vaccine this month and maybe 20 million vaccine next month. While in total of about only 100 million people have received first dose. The population of those about age 60 and above is about 100 million( approximately). While according to the news agency, the population between 18 to 45 is about 600 million, requiring 1.2 billion doses.
Perhaps, the voluntary arm of rss would be better to have own in house experts, shadow cabinet to check on PM from here forth. In anycase, the absolute trust Mr Modi had held so far is now broken. People have seen him fail as clearly as ever.
Many people had seen their friends, family, neighbors hospitalized, have lost their loved ones and suffered the dread that it could be them next. They clearly will not forget this failure. For many of us, this is the biggest failure of government we have seen in our lives.
While the situation continues to evolve, let us keep hope , work together and succeed in overcoming this difficult phase.