DailyPost 1671

India has been suffering from natural disasters since times immemorial; floods, droughts, tsunami, earthquakes, landslides and what not. Different diseases have taken epidemic proportions time and again and we are aware of the responses thereof. It is difficult to find a document pertaining to the satisfaction of the affected in any of these tragedies. The Bhopal gas tragedy is a living example to the level to which things can be messed up. The pangs of Tsunami would have still remained with so many. Democratic governments lacking will and vision have their own methods of responding with the archaic and also feudal machinery to support the operations. Undoubtedly, the new disaster management mechanism of late has been able to elevate some crisis evacuation and relief related activities.

The administrative structures under the Act have been constituted and are delivering on a piecemeal basis. Somehow life moved on. Even floods which happen with predictable regularity and even rains in cities have the capability to take us to the brink of  disaster. Human suffering is a passe in this country. Crisis management mechanism is itself crisis ridden. Mostly the same administrative machinery which has been responsible for it, appears in a different avatar. The first wave of pandemic was somehow managed though we kept running world number two for a long time. Will democratic governments in the present variant and capability be able the deliver world class successful pandemic management, which the country deserves.

The complications of pandemic management is way beyond what our decision makers can even imagine, as seen from visuals all over the place. Empathy itself is in short supply, leave aside everything else. Pandemic management starts from health intelligence to data modelling /predictions to bed management to logistics to vaccines and endless other critical ends. Is our system designed for this? Can this situation be handled by general administration?  Can results be delivered with experts playing a second fiddle? We live in an age and time where specialized expertise and competence only delivers. What fate these surges bring as purges no one ones?

If the sentiment of the nation is convinced based on validated data and experience feels that our regular administrative systems and leadership cannot deliver in crisis of present pandemic proportions, then what is the answer? A constitutional body with all necessary expertise from health intelligence to last mile delivery can be the only answer. Fully professional, *devoid of any political leanings* and committed to the welfare of the tragedy stricken. This would be the Pandemic Commission of India which would get control of the complete administrative machinery of the state or the country, when they cross the mandated numbers / level or coverage of any pandemic. The interfaces with the government can be *constitutionally mandated on the lines of the Election Commission of India. Keeping the country in a state of preparedness would be their peace time task.


Sanjay Sahay

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