Current times validate how Modi govt wrecked India & its people

Allowing religious festivals and election rallies turned into a virus superspreader, several International reports claimed, Modi failed to handle the Coronavirus second wave.

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India has been struck by a disastrous second wave Coronavirus causing an unprecedented increase in the number of cases and more fatalities. The first wave of the pandemic that hit the country last year had only affected the elderly, slowly things and normalcy were achieved after the entire nation was put under lockdown for nearly three months. Essential services, marriages within limited guests and only emergency movement were allowed, which to a larger extent had helped the nation to curb the spread of the infection. 

Gradually, as everything began to slowly operate from the opening of work to religious places, dine-in, theatres basically reopening of all places where the crowd could gather. People too got indulged in their daily activity forgetting about the lingering virus in the atmosphere. Sanitizing, face mask, social distancing, everything was tossed up unaware of the approaching threat and calamity Indians had to bear. Though several of the developed nations were struggling with the pandemic, Health Minister, Dr Harsh Vardhan at the end of January was quick to say: “India has successfully contained the pandemic.”

India was counting an average of 11,000 cases a day and the average count of daily deaths also slid to below 100. Everyone, even Internationally it was said that India has bent the infection curve. By then, Indian had also started exporting vaccines to over 70 countries and Modi was called a “Vaccine Guru”.

By the end of February, India’s election authorities announced key polls in five states. Beginning in March, the polls stretched over a month, in the case of Bengal, it was held in phases. Campaigning for the elections began in full swing, with no safety protocols and physical distancing in place. On the other hand, the Indian cricket board in mid-March hosted an international cricket match between India and England at the Narendra Modi stadium in Gujarat, allowing more than 130,000 fans, mostly unmasked.

In no less than a month, India was gripping under the devastating effects of a double mutant of Coronavirus and fresh lockdowns were imposed in states. 

By mid-April, the country on average was registering more than 100,000 cases a day.

Soon, India was in the grasp of a public health emergency. Social media was loaded with videos of Covid funerals at packed crematoriums, weeping relatives of the deaths outside the hospitals, long queues of ambulances carrying patients, hospitals having no beds - one to be occupied by two, morgues overflowing with dead bodies, hospitals overloaded every minute, sometimes patients laying on corridor and lobbies of the hospitals begging for bed and oxygen. 

Desperate calls were made for beds, medicines, oxygen, essential drugs and tests. Covid tests results were taking days, drugs were being sold on the black market, while all this didn’t fall on the government. "They didn't tell me for three hours that my child is dead," a stunned mother says in one video, sitting outside an ICU. while another person’s cry could be heard outside the ICU. 

Now, India's gigantic vaccination effort was also failing. In the beginning, the vaccine rollout was embroiled in a controversy over the efficacy of the home-grown vaccine, although the country administered over 100 million doses, vaccine shortages were reported. Looking at the surge in cases, the Union government opened the vaccination drive for all above 18, however, several states reported an acute shortage of vaccine, many were even closed. Serum Institute said it will not be able to ramp up vaccine supplies before June because it didn't have enough money to expand capacity. Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID vaccine export was put on hold, and foreign vaccine imports were permitted. Apart from vaccines, essential medical equipment, oxygen was being shipped to India amid the increasing demand, raising the question of why Indian’s weren’t given priority on vaccination. Vaccines export could have been done later, given the massive population it has. 

Meanwhile, almost in some parallel world, away from the deaths, hopelessness and despair, cricket games were happening, marriages were full of crowd, people started taking vacations as tourism reopened, ten thousand people were attending rallies following their leaders and the biggest of all was the Hindu festival of Kumbh Mela, that was attended by a whopping amount of more than 1 million, having no protocols maintained. Several of them reported being Covid positive. 

The ever rise in cases caused by the new variant was infecting entire families. This time the younger generation. 

Government officials' arrogance, bureaucratic incompetence, bragging of declaring victory over the virus, hyper-nationalism, system negligence, populism all combined had caused the disastrous crisis the nation witnessed.  

The second wave of COVID was kindled by people letting their guard down, the government taking it lightly by allowing political rallies and religious gatherings. With cases declining, fewer people were taking vaccine shots, which aimed at vaccinating 250 million people by the end of July. In mid-February, Bhramar Mukherjee, a biostatistician at the University of Michigan, tweeted that India needed to "accelerate the vaccination drive while the case counts are low,” but nobody quite took notice. Indian scientists had warned the government of the approaching threat of the virus and had provided a roadmap, but it again remained unheard. What for all this, elections, votes and power. 

Despite several warning signs by experts, the authorities did not notice. 

The Narendra Modi led-government did not only fail in managing the covid situation in the country but has also remained distant from the problems people are facing. 

Over 300 doctors have died during the second wave the government couldn’t save them. Crematoriums are so flooded that dead bodies of Covid patients were seen floating in the holiest river of the Ganges in Bihar. 

Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi had subtly warned the journalist of not capturing pictures of the crematoriums, which projects the state in a negative light. One person was also held for seeking oxygen help on social media. 

Modi and his government have also been criticised by the Lancet for paying more attention to his image by removing criticism on Twitter than working towards people welfare and controlling the pandemic. "Modi's actions in attempting to stifle criticism and open discussion during the crisis are inexcusable," Lancet said in an editorial. The lack of vision and foresightedness of this government is out, several nations and organisations have stated. 

Lack of education on the virus is another shortcoming of the Modi government that failed to make people understand more about the virus and vaccines. Tribals in Karnataka and Maharashtra are escaping vaccination fearing they would die after taking it. Well, the education system is another sphere that the centre has failed to improve in its long seven years tenure. 

The government has several months to make better medical arrangements and mapping guidelines to manage any disaster. 

Narendra Modi disappeared as the country was in the clutches of a severe crisis. He did appear on TV and with his show Mann Ki Baat to address the nation, but only to give motivational speeches and not how he and his government are preparing to tackle the crisis. Amid these gloomy times, the construction of Modi’s luxurious Central Vista Project which his opposition termed as his “vanity project” was still on. 

Also Read: Modi's actions in attempting to stifle criticism during Covid crisis inexcusable: Lancet

Despite the emerging dangers of the infection, Modi and his leaders were busy attacking the opposition and giggling in rallies, making fun with slogans like “Didi O Didi”, showing more vigilance in maintaining an international stance rather than putting real efforts in making some strong decision and implementation. 

But all this could have been put under surveillance if the supreme boss has shown little more attention in improving the basic infrastructure of the country than in showing how powerful his voice is in influencing people against his opponents.