IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 15th Sep 2020
Believe you can and you’re halfway there.– Theodore Roosevelt
EDITORIAL HUNT #137 :“The Pandemic and Half-Knowledge | UPSC
Gopal Krishna Gandhi
The Pandemic and Half-Knowledge | UPSC
Former Governor West Bengal
India’s great silence is the loudest sound
Citizens must unceasingly demand that they be enabled to know the facts of the crises, authoritatively
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : Governance
To know is to be able to control. In the context of Pandemic discuss the role of Governance and Bureaucratic setup. -(GS 2)
- Misinformation and the Pandemic
- Role of governance
- Duties of each organ in Democracy
- CONTROL : And no one really knows how to handle this multi-headed sprite.
- BLINDNESS : In fact no one really knows quite what it really is.
NO REASONED EXPLANATION
- SOURCES : We have no one in public office telling us what-is-what, convincingly, authoritatively on the epidemic.
- SAD DISTINCTION : We know that India has surpassed Brazil and the United States to earn the sad distinction of having the fastest-growing caseload in the world.
- PULLING UP PREPARATIONS : If it is, then is the nation to expect testings, beds and ventilators to match the need .
- RURAL INDIA : Are India’s villages prepared ? Even remotely prepared, in terms of health centres, equipment to need to meet the challenge.
- REASONED EXPLANATION : What is the thinking — there has to be one — behind un-locking at the height of the rising curve of infections.
MORE SEARCHING QUESTIONS
- UNEMPLOYMENT SCALE : Likewise, we do not know, authoritatively, the scale of the impact of our crippling contraction on salaried jobs and non-salaried livelihoods.
- FEWER EXPORTS : We do not know what agricultural labour are going to do with what has been harvested if the country’s purchasing power has dwindled.
- MISSING MASTERMIND : There is no financial mastermind in government to educate us, credibly, about this.
- REFORMER : There are many commentators, there is no social philosopher of pre-eminence among us.
- PROFIT MONOPOLY : That it is the loot of both natural and human resources for the rank profit of monopolies that has wrought and is deepening this pandemic.
- KNOWLEDGE DEFICIT : And everyone, the government more than anyone else, is learning and un-learning lessons by the day.
- THEORIES : Very curiously, there are numerous theories on when the vaccine will come.
- CREDIBILITY : But it does no credit to either human intelligence or to human self-respect to wait, prayerfully, for the materialisation of such a saviour.
- RECESSION : In the grip of an epidemic, a recession, a muting of questioning voices, and a possible war-like situation, what is it that needs to be done by us, regular folk?
PILLARS OF THE STATE
- BEING INFORMED : We must unceasingly demand that we be enabled to know the facts of the situation.
- INFORMATION SHARING : Of the three pillars of the state, knowledge-sharing has to be the executive’s duty, privilege.
- CONTRACTION : We need to know all that needs to be understood about the epidemic, the economic contraction and the situation on our borders with China. This is ineluctable.
- COST OF WAR : We need to know, and the Executive needs to tell us, details of the likely cost in terms of public health, public finance of such a war.
- DIPLOMATIC ENGAGEMENT : The situation on the India-China border needs today not the dangerous diversions of jingoism but pragmatic, diplomatic engagement .
- EXAMPLES FROM HISTORY : The Rowlatt Act passed by that Council on March 18, 1919, was ostensibly to subserve the war effort.
- BOLD DECISIONS : The national emergency 1975-1977, we will recall, got the approval of the Parliament of the day.
- ALERTNESS : The greatest vigilance and prudence is required of Parliament today.
HUSH OVER INSTITUTIONS
- This is where the third pillar, the judiciary, comes in.
- VITAL MATTER : Before it such as Article 370 of the Constitution,the habeas corpus petitions of J&K give it the chance to show its autonomous mind, its independence and, in short, to speak up.
- VIRAL SERENITY : A viral stillness hovers eerily over the institutions of state.
- WE THE PEOPLE : With the Fourth Estate leading we, the people of India, need to become our freedom’s life-support.
“Dissent is a safety-valve of democracy”.- Justice D.Y. Chandrachud
SOURCES: THE HINDU EDITORIAL HUNT | The Pandemic and Half-Knowledge | UPSC