Macabre situation of Covid second wave – What went wrong with India?

A critical look at what went wrong with India’s management of Covid

A critical look at what went wrong with India’s management of Covid
A critical look at what went wrong with India’s management of Covid

The second wave of Covid turning into chaos

For the past two weeks, the largest democratic country in the world, India, is witnessing a macabre COVID-19 second wave leading to more than 30,000 deaths and around 30 lakh patients in April 2021 alone. Shocking visuals emerge from patients’ filled hospitals with chaos in the supply of oxygen cylinders, acute lack of medicines and 24×7 burning crematoriums. What went wrong in India, which a few weeks ago was chest-thumping and exporting vaccines to more than 60 countries? Prime Minister Narendra Modi even went to the extent of boasting victory in the war against Corona! The simple answer is that from November 2020 onwards, India took the pandemic lightly and many thought the issue is over like a kid playing near the seaside underestimating the next strong hidden wave.

From the Bihar assembly elections in November 2020, we have seen mass campaigning violating all COVID-19 protocols. By February 2021, when Covid daily cases went below 6000 patients in total across the country, all the specially designated Covid Care centres were closed, and the country was witnessing a vaccination spree. But statistics tell us that as of date, India has vaccinated only 14.52 crores (145 million) and out of which only 2.26 crores (22 million) were fully (second shots) vaccinated. This is a very low vaccination coverage in a country like India with more than 136 crores (1.36 billion) population. Now Modi is facing severe criticism for exporting more than 6.6 crore (66 million) vaccine shots to 60 countries till March 2021, when the country had only vaccinated around 4 crores (40 million) people. Now many are facing vaccine shortages for the second dose and the situation could be serious when the country is opening up vaccination for all above 18 years of age from May 1.

The Covid Protocols were thrown to the wind in March-April when five states – West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Kerala and Puducherry went for assembly elections.

The many states and the Centre are engaged in bitter court battles in different High Courts and Supreme Court also took up the matter on the issue of acute oxygen supply, lack of infrastructure in hospitals and medical supplies. We must admit that there is a lack of coordination between states and the Centre and it shows up worse in opposition parties ruled states like Delhi, Maharashtra, Punjab. In some BJP-ruled states such as Gujarat, the Prime Minister’s home state is also in a bad mess.

The Covid protocols were thrown to the wind in March-April when five states – West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Kerala and Puducherry went for assembly elections. Many politicians including the Prime Minister and Union Home Minister Amit Shah was at the forefront of fiery election campaigns where 100s of rallies were conducted. In a nutshell, apart from a relaxed behavior in the system, governments and as well as the public in general, there was a lack of coordination between the agencies when India decided to increase the testing and tracking. It is natural that when testing and tracking increased, more patients will be found. But hospital and medical infrastructures were not upgraded to accommodate the patients. Not only that, by February 2021, many Covid Care centres were closed!

Now we are seeing chaos everywhere. There are systemic problems in India like over-centralization in policymaking. In Covid times Prime Minister and his office were handling the machinery in a centralized way. But centralization has now been proved wrong and decentralization is the only way to handle affairs in India, World’s largest democracy, with more than 136 crore population. Let us hope and wish India will overcome this Covid second wave crisis also.

7 COMMENTS

  1. The article is so shallow in its ability to decifer any intellectual data point. looks more like an essay written by a class 8 student. Taking examples to countries who are either so cash rich or have negligible population compared to ours.

  2. Dear Editor,
    The article was very apt and covered facts. The only thing I request you is, please publish another article with more coverage on the decentralization and centralization. I expected more on coverage on the issues I mentioned above. I won’t say I am disappointed, but I will be happy if you publish an article on the process of decentralization and the process through which govt can achieve it and its overall benifits.

    Thank you!

  3. Write is balanced and factual indeed.
    In fact it is Covid 3rd wave and not Second wave. How? By Oct 2020 first wave gone and innumerable wine shops were opened all over the country to FIRST shore up revenues followed by hike in fuel prices, cinema halls, Malls were opened……………..and we have had news on second wave in Europe and US of A.

    In our country second wave came in during mid Nov 2020 and the third wave undercurrent started after 18th Feb 2021 and our PM declared how India fought covid war with negligible ill-health and deaths! BJP declared with a resolution congratulating PM Ji. It was reported that the Health Minster said there is no Covid in the country NOW while Telugu Speaking CMs during first wave said bleaching powder, paracetamol and hot summer temperatures will vanquish virus!! From PM to CMs none have had guts to say it’s CHINA VIRUS/ Wuhan Virus at least then and now!! Now whole world and biased media is saying India Virus! WHO DG protected China all through!

    In July 2020 former President Donald Trump funded nearly half a dozen Pharma Companies in his country to the tune of 90Bn US$ and made arrangements for vaccine production in double doses plus extra stocks, further research and entrusted job of distribution to Military subject to correction!! Later Oaf President Biden said there was no vaccine in his country and only after he took over the reins on 20th Jan 2021 vaccines came out!!! How about our PM? Had our PM worked on Trump’s footsteps he would have won the hearts of third world countries and not just by exporting 6.5 crores vaccines to 64 to 84 countries! It’s reported that UK booked double doses of the required vaccines while intelligent and brave Israel booked and paid in advance at the double the vaccine original price knowing full well that nationwide lockdown will devastate his country’s economy. How intelligent world leaders are!

    Hard working and brave PM Modi ji even now did not decentralize his style of functioning which he has been practicing since May 2014 as on date. He does not like seniors in his party/RSS. Had PM directly contacted over 600 District Collectors with due intimation to CMs he would have achieved grand success.

    There is no point in blaming PM alone. It was reported that Delhi international media planted and foreign funded CM Kejriwal touted his famous basti hospitals. Where are they now? It’s reported that GOI given permissions for several Oxygen Plants in Delhi. There’s none. Even Delhi HC was informed that there is no Oxygen Tanker truck to ferry Oxygen to hospitals! It was reported that 138 Oxygen plants were granted for the entire nation while only 38 were grounded!

    It’s the failure of bureaucrats with Laptops/PPT presenting before PM Modi who likes them the most. It’s the failure of Health Advisor VK Paul also and shameless Niti Ayog mandarins too. This grim situation in our country is due to UPA era 70% bureaucrats and Modis own 30% to blame.

    it is time for the PM to shun his one man show of mal-governance and revamp his team with better cabinet of all ages. There is no point in remaining adamant inviting blame all alone. His bloated ratings may go down.

  4. Blaming Central Govt. for such horrible situation of dying people at second wave of pandemic is not fair at this juncture.

    But if we look into the last 7 decades, we find that during 1951 to 2020, an explosion in population & shrinking of available resources did not hit the top intellectuals brain.

    We can’t understand use of “Yojna Aayog” that for what purpose this Aayog was formed.

    How can we justify country’s unaccounted population which is not on record but only an estimate that till 2050, our country will have biggest population load in the world. No government can do better at this situation.

    Blunders can’t be ignored & of course such curse not affecting our leaders boasting our Nation a “Great democratic country” while by seeing such horrible situation of heartless people involved in heinous activities, shamefully, we may say our Nation a merciless, characterless, immoral country of the world.

  5. Indeed the article is factual & unbiased, as the Team PGurus claims. Also, I am in agreement with Mr.Narsimha’s comment.

  6. First one has to reverse the direction
    So India has to DeModilise

    Otherwise we shall see the Dominion of India break up into pieces long before the expiry date.

  7. Gentlemen,
    Kindly tell me when India ever operated in a coordinated manner with perfect synergy and cohesion between various Governmental Agencies within the same Deparment/section itself! The Public Health Infrastructure has been totally neglected all along, nothing new. You will need to consider that people were getting fed up with the rigid lock down protocols and the economy was taking a hit. There had to be a trade off when easing the restrictions. The harsh truth is that we as a people expect the Government to do everything right, first time , every time while we will never own up/recognise our own responsibilities, exercise self control and discipline. Does it need a ban to not go to a kumbh or Id festival? Does it need a postponement of the Constitutional process to defer elections? What is elections had been deferred? Would all the parties have mutually agreed to continue with existing dispensations? As to Rallies, is it only the Centre who is responsible , arent State leaders equally responsible. As such most of the day to day running are de-centralised with States responsible. Take Odisha. Has Naveen Patnaik ever cribbed or come running to the Center for his shortcomings. It is not that the Govt is entirely blameless. But in the ultimate analysis, unless the mentality and work culture of our people undergo a sea change, we will continue to be mired with such meaningless debates which leads to no concrete resolutions. Today, the media, and self styled experts who probably never worked their bottoms off with time bound targets and hurdles every step of the way except six sigma Government and Governance!

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