Fact-Sheet of Modi Govt 2.0 (Pt-2 of 3)
(....Continuing from the previous issue 3:07)
Health & Family Welfare. Even though the Health Department is under the respective State Govts, there is no doubt that Modi Govt 1.0 brought some life back to the almost lifeless health deptts of the govts. Initially providing the central aid, making compulsory the professional skills and the training level and then the dilapidated infra. Most if not all Distt and Sub-Divisional level hospitals got a face-lift. Accountability was assigned to curtail the monumental corruptions prevailing. All these were done with an objective…of later integrating with the “Ayushman Bharat” scheme…and they succeeded too to a large extent. These functionally defunct hospitals started performing to varying extents. All these were done with a vision that PM Narendra Modi had conceived. Dr Harsh Vardhan with his 2 stints and JP Nadda did well to roll-out the Ayushman Bharat” Scheme Pan-India. It was a massive achievement of the Modi Govt 1.0. Health started reaching to every citizen largely free of cost to those who were in SECC 2011 list. However, SECC 2011 was made under the Congress UPA and has plenty of loopholes. Numerous poor find their names missing and numerous rich Congis have their names included. This is one of the hurdles for all poor to be beneficiaries of PMJAY.
Modi 2.0 too started on a positive note essentially furthering the achievements of Modi 1.0. Some of the decisions of Modi 2.0 annoyed many allopathic doctors such as abolition of Medical Council of India (MCI) and to replace with the National Medical Commissionfor policy making. Introduction of the Ayush ministry (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha-Sowa-Rigpa and Homoeopathy) in to routine public healthcare, authorising even carrying out surgeries brought many of the allopathic doctor’s bodies. However, these were anticipated in league with Newton’s 1st law of Inertia that gradually subsided. It was a reasonably good decision to integrate all branches of the traditional medicines in the Indian health care system where allopathy alone has been struggling to cope-up for centuries after the Muslim rulers had largely destroyed the flourishing Ayurveda and later the British brought in their own Allopathy. The Indian system of medicines have remained in oblivion since then. Thanks to Modi govt for giving a lease of life to Ayurveda that started its own higher institutions for scientific research. The new Govt Modi 2.0 had barely settled down when it was unsettled by the Chinese Wuhan Virus nCoV2.
The pandemic rattled the world and India was one of the initial nations to have been hit. The entire timelines of Covid19 despair in India is shown below: -
PM Modi again displayed his vision in setting-up the Covid Task force under PMO. It must have been the Herculean task of the Task force of the centre which did many improvements. Two groups were set-up independent of each other…the Covid Task Force Clinical Group to manage the medical care and the Science group to make India self-reliant in the various equipment, drugs and vaccines. The first group raised the hosp bed strength 10 times separately for Covid patients, augmenting the trained man-power of doctors, nurses and other health workers and ensured testing at war footing…initially for those showing symptoms and their close contacts and later for others. The Science groups made the pandemic an opportunity for self-reliance and export of testing kits, PPEs, Ventilators, Oxygen generators, pulse oximeters, sanitisers and so on.
The second wave of Covid19 essentially by the Delta variant was a storm that everyone failed to visualise. Maharashtra Govt is the most culpable for their acts of omission & commission in which they tried their level best to hide the high virulence of the new variant. They tried to wrap-up the higher morbidity, mortality and complications of the new variant under the carpet. (The Counterviews; Issue 3:06 pp-8). As a result, neither the ICMR, Union Govt nor the State Govts could plan for the coming stormy wave of the Delta variant. It wreaked havoc. If anyone needs to be hanged for the culpability, it has to be the Maharashtra Govt.
Vaccine development too was facilitated by the task force the fruits of which is now available for all…>45 Cr vaccine doses. As on 26th July 21, India seems to be in control of the vaccination drive as shown in the text-box below: -
While ministry of Health & Family Welfare has done reasonably good in the management of Covid19, the minister Dr Harshvardhan failed miserably in his responsibility as the chairman of the WHO Exec Board. He could have handled the WHO with firmness to dismiss Dr Tedros who has been a Chinese mole in the WHO. He could also have initiated and independently transparent investigation in to the source of Wuhan Virus early last year and also initiated a commission to compensate the victims of Covid19 but he failed.
One of the biggest achievements of Modi 1.0 & 2.0 has been in the medical education sector. While the number of the undergraduate seats have increased by approx. 56%, the PG seats have gone up by ~85%. The numbers of Medical colleges have increased. Their own infrastructures and faculties have been augmented to accommodate larger number of students. Several new medical colleges have been opened. AIIMS have more than tripled. This will surely pay dividends in the coming years and decades when these graduates will get their rural posting. For the first time, many of the PHCs would get a medical officer.
All said, it must be realised that in all-round responsibility of the Health Minister of our nation, Dr Harshvardhan’s performance fell short of the expectations incl inability to foresee the 2nd wave of Covid19. He also failed the world at large in investigating the origine of the Corona Virus and fixating the onus of the spread of the pandemic. This could have held the perpetrator accountable to compensate the millions of Covid19 victims. He had to pay the price for his failures and was rightly removed from his post of cabinet minister.
Ministry of Road & Transportation has been excellent in Modi 2.0 too. The specific works and infrastructures has been in the border areas. The present govt has tried its best. It is for the first time that sensitive parts of Ladakh has been connected with two all-weather roads both from Srinagar and Manali, with the rest of India. It is a huge development. The similar are the instances in North-East too. Both road and rail routes have been extended most of the areas adjoining both China and Bangladesh. The infrastructure development in the border areas especially adjoining China and Bangladesh have been immense. There are extensive lengths of the border roads, bridges created to link most of the villages which lacked a proper road in the 70 yrs of Indian independence. There are 63 infrastructure projects in Ladakh, 63 road bridges in 11 states, and 12 roads in north-east…that were inaugurated recently. it has been a phenomenal journey of India in the infrastructure development in the recent years. Rail links were made to extend to all Indian states of North-East and by now the trains are running to all these states. Rail links were also made to extend to the neighbouring friendly nations of Bangladesh and Nepal. Even the long pending aspiration of our Sikh Community to link Kartarpur Saheb in Pakistan has been materialised in a very short span of time. Modi 1.0 & 2.0 has ensured that the roads reach to each and every village. The efforts of Mr Nitin Gadkari, Min of Road transport must be lauded in this regard.
Gadkari Ji’sinfrastructure development in the rest of the country also has been highly lauded by even the opponents of the Modi Govt. The national highways (esp to Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh), Sagarmala, the golden quadrilateral, State high ways, linking up of the remote villages…everything has been on his task. There is not a single state or Union Territory of India that has not had the benefits of his arduous infrastructure works. There is no wonder why Shri Nitin Gadkari is known by many as the “Bhagwan Vishwakarma of Kaliyug”.
Ministry of Finance has suffered the most in the Covid times and it is not the India alone, the economy of the world has melted down in the pandemic. The entire world economy has suffered immensely, most of them going in to their negative GDP. The Finance minister has apparently done the best under the circumstances but not enough for the recovery to be remarkable. India suffered on many accounts. Firstly, huge amount of money had to be diverted to the ailing health sector. Secondly, the moment a national lockdown was imposed, the poor and the labour class of people had to be provided food and provisions for almost 8-9 months. Before the lockdown where the estimates of BPL families were only 8.5 Cr, those claiming govt Covid19 alimony numbered 80 Cr. LPG gas were given for free to the poor families. Direct Bank Transfer (DBT) were made to the poor for all these period. The third factor was the sheer enormous numbers of the Covid infections, testing, admissions and deaths owing to the 139 Cr population.
The second wave again imposed lockdown by the concerned states when the same alimony was distributed again which is still going on in many states. Cost of the health infrastructures, treatment and now vaccination…all have to be borne by the govt with the earnings in limbo.
Initially with Chinese Hostility, there were immediate emergency procurement of arms & ammunition for which substantial founds had to be spent. Thereafter the Covid19 lockdown and the ensuing shut-down of the unorganised and the manufacturing sectors had a heavy impact on the economy. The MSME sector unable to absorb the impact, had to be provided economic relief.
In the initial 2 months after the lockdown, a relief package of Rs 28 lakh Cr had been announced for both Gareeb-Kalyan Yojna and the MSME revival by Jun 2020. It is expected that the overall economic burden on the govt due to Covid19 by now could be anything in the vicinity of about Rs 40 lakh Cr. That is a huge amount of loss to the economy. As and when the nation comes out of it intact, will be a miracle. However, the immediate needs of those adversely affected by the pandemic have been taken care of except one…the misery of the second wave for which all of us are culpable (Culpability for Covid19 deaths in India; The Counterviews; Issue 3:06; PP-8).
Whatever be the final cost of Covid19 on the world incl India, that is unavoidable due to the raging pandemic. The economies of nations having smaller population and providing the protective cover of vaccination to at least 70% at the earliest, will be able to open their lockdowns at the earliest and in turn, recover faster. India being nearly the most populous country, will surely take time to vaccinate the required minimum population to break the chain of Covid transmission. Who knows? There could be another wave of totally different variants of Corona Virus that may again put the world economy topsy-turvy. The world economy will have to take all these factors in to account. Hence, any recovery of economy could be a guess at best.
Many economists believe the cost of Covid19 on India will be substantial as it has 1.4 billion populations and that there are elements within the nation which will try to derail the recovery, through periodic disinformation and disruptions campaigns, just to put the Modi govt in a tight corner, under poor light. Mrs Seetharaman, the Finance Minister has done well to inject sufficient funds in to various manufacturing and other sectors that could hasten the recovery. Report card of Modi govt cannot be faulted on these accounts. The moment nation opens up from the lock-down, surely most of the people who lost jobs, will get works. Unemployment will surely ease. However, she has missed the bus to generate mass-employment especially in the rural India through agricultural revolution (Works to all Indian Hands: Govt unable or unwilling? The Counterviews; Issue 2:04) but that did not happen.
(…to be continued in the next issue 3:09)