The so called, ‘Acche Din’ promised to us by Narendra Modi is yet to arrive. The former Chief Minister of Gujarat has taken radical steps to lift India out of the category of ‘developing countries’ and turn it into a superpower. To do so, the government has had to tackle a vast variety of issues, which include resuscitating a failing economy, improving the conditions of farmers and the agriculture sector. However, more than success stories and signs of progression, the BJP and it’s right wing philosophy has ended up making more negative headlines during Modi’s regime as PM. The onset of the coronavirus pandemic has thrown a wrench into the government’s supposed plans and strategies. It takes a strong and stable government to deal with the problems faced during a pandemic, but has the Modi government handled the situation well, or are we still lacking in the appropriate efforts that need to be made to actually turn this hellish situation around?
On March 23rd 2020, Modi addressed the nation regarding COVID-19. The PM issued a 21-day lockdown in an attempt to control the spread of the virus and isolate it. According to him, if the 21 day lockdown proved to be unsuccessful in controlling the spread, India’s economy would be set back by 21 years. The lockdown was extended for another 60+ days. Does that mean the Indian economy is now regressed by 80+ days? To deal with the economic crisis that would be brought on by the lockdown, the government has declared a gigantic amount of ₹20 lakh crore to save the economy which has been broken and bruised by the lockdown. That amount works out to around 10% of the country’s GDP, making it more than substantial. The package is meant to focus on land, labour, liquidity and laws and caters to all sections of society, from the cottage industries to the upper middle class.
While the financial and economic conditions of the country are being assessed and dealt with, what is still lacking is tests. For a country with a population of well over a billion people, majority of them living in close contact with each other, there simply aren’t enough tests being conducted. It has been proven that the more people tested, the lower the positivity rate falls, as seen in Delhi. On the 1st of June, the city had tested nearly 4800 people out of which nearly a thousand of them tested positive. Two weeks later, nearly 7500 people were tested out of which 2224 tested positive, which led to a dip in the positivity rate. This proves, that if the government conducts more tests, they will soon be able to get a grip on the situation and actually come up with measures to deal with it.
But when the government takes one step forward, it takes two steps back. The CM of Maharashtra Uddhav Thackeray, and the newly formed coalition government are trying their absolute best to flatten the curve in Maharashtra, the state with the most cases. While many parts of the country are reporting a reduction in cases, Maharashtra’s numbers have only increased. The Centre was quick to criticise the actions and efforts of the Maharashtra government against the handling of the COVID-19 crisis. As a sort of response to the criticism, a gag order, or prohibitory measure was issued by Mumbai Police, which made it a criminal act to criticise the government. This was seen as an attempt to shut the mouths of the critics of Thackeray’s handling of the crisis, but the order claims to prevent any criticism against the government’s efforts in the battle against COVID-19 and anything that could pose a threat to public health and safety, or disturb public tranquility.
So far the measures taken by the government haven’t yielded much positive news, and the number of cases keeps increasing. It is yet to be seen, whether the government continues the so called ‘Unlock’ process, or has the government jumped the gun too quickly and is heading for trouble. Irrespective of either scenarios we know that amongst essential services like healthcare and farming, politics still gets the most importance in a pandemic.