Daily Post 1396
LOCKDOWN – A BALANCING ACT
From the days of the book titled Asian Drama published more than 50 years back, soft state has been the best way to describe governance in South Asian countries. Procrastination has been the name of the game. Political parties may come and go, but the governance remains the same. That for a citizen in distress the experience doesn’t change; the slogans, captions, advertisements and the manifestos keep changing. The connect with the ground is conspicuously missing. Only a diehard political worker / leader can see the change through his ultra-discernible eyes because of the benefits from the regime. Even when a decision is gone through, it does not get implemented. By exception, something decent happens.
Governance is not a balancing act which it is made out to be. A system hanging in a balance cannot be deliver. A system is a seamless integration of its parts to fulfil the task assigned, having perfected in peacetime, it develops the capability to deliver even in a crisis. When peacetime operations are clumsy, war time is clumsier. This is the scenario in which COVID-19 appeared on the scene, where the response and the governance mechanisms had not heard of anything of this nature, leave aside handling it. The famed models have already fallen by the way side. Every war is different and this was a World Health War. Contagion is the challenge, breaking the chain and maintaining it, till the time it gets into the descent mode is the challenge.
While different actions / methodologies to contain COVID-19 has by now been known to all of us, Lockdown is at the centre of it. We started with Lockdown early and it did yield results. What is to be understood is that Lockdown is not an administrative decision, which is it made out to be. The effort of finding an equilibrium between life and livelihood will remain a mirage in the present situation. The decision has to tilt heavily in favour of life. The robust social / food security system which we have built over decades of our socialistic existence, has to deliver. The meticulous planning and execution of the type of Vietnam did not happen. They reacted at time of the first two deaths in Wuhan. Over reaction has been their strategy, the country has not seen a single COVID-19 death.
How can different cities and states react differently to the same situation? Lockwood breaks contagion. That is a truism. Western Europe perforce used it. Those nations have come out fairly successfully. That is what we want. Any doubts on our medical infrastructure has long been buried, though having some difference in different parts of the country. And so also of the capability of public and private components of the medical sector to work seamlessly. From metros to big cities to small cities to towns, it has already hit the countryside. Dashboards and War Rooms can deliver when the brick and mortar is in place and perfected. With additions of lakhs to the tally, as the fast moving milestones seen from inside a speeding car, do we have a choice?
LOCKDOWN IS INEVITABLE.