“From purely an epidemiological perspective, a pandemic is an epidemic that has gone global.” To quickly sum up the run of events; it took the world quite a bit of time to understand the severity of the Corona disease outbreak. By the time it did step up efforts to contain the spread of the virus, things had spiralled out of control.
With fatalities worldwide shooting up with every passing day, governments across the globe were realizing to their utter dismay that they were up against an invisible enemy which was raising visions about Armageddon. It’s now been over four months since the nation has waged an all-out war with the deadly microbe.
Apart from appearing smug over efforts put in to check the erratic run of the virus, state governments have had nothing much to show for their labours. Pretty well resigned to the fact they are still in the experiment stage as far as their combat preparations are concerned, state administrations have eventually had to throw in the towel.
Caught in a Catch-22 like situation, little were the state governments realizing that their much-publicised strife to save lives and livelihoods of their citizens would ultimately fizzle out to a tame affair. For, it is not as simple as it appears. With a high risk of bankruptcy predicted in all sectors of business and commerce globally as the virus continues its uninterrupted assault, it gives no solace to India to have itself stare at an already bleak economic scenario, further worsened by the COVID crisis. Hence, in attempting to save the lives of its people, the government can ill-afford to ignore its tottering economy. So how is the government to be faulted for easing restrictions on a number of activities that would revive it!
People called it the haste to get out of the lockdown mode! But when survival is at stake, even the financial consequences of any crisis needs to be taken into account when the government formulates a plan for the well-being of its citizens. It is however an impossible situation when the government has to set the wheels of the nation’s economy rolling, and at the same time ensure that its populace is safe from the potent effects of the virus. With the slew of economic stimulus packages announced to make the country self-reliant, the government has made efforts to save the lockdown-battered economy. But apprehensions over the COVID relief package eventually playing out the “Cobra Effect’ cannot be ruled out either! According to Wall Street veteran Larry McDonald, “the ‘cobra effect’ will have a disastrous and unimaginable impact on the market”. Let us sincerely hope that the attempted and well-meant solution to the COVID problem doesn’t worsen it!
When one speaks of the economy of a nation there are so many aspects of it that needs to be taken into consideration. Having to contend with the concerns of stakeholders who can either affect or be affected by various business activities, the government quite inadvertently - and quite often at that -with its set of directives for commencing an operation appear to be biased in its decision. Giving into pressures from the ‘seemingly neglected’ economic sectors which could have an adverse effect on the overall scenario in the wake of the pandemic were they to commence operations have been the undoing of the present government.
Various lobbies mounting pressure on the government to take an unprejudiced stand on such decisions made during this pandemic have hampered smooth governance. Goa for example! The Pramod Sawant-led government in the state has been criticized a thousand times over for being an epitome of confusions and contradictions when it has come to its efforts at normalizing life and battling COVID-19 in the state.
People wonder that with the fight to contain the spread of the virus taking up so much of its time, how is it that the state government still has time to ponder over its development plans. News about the coronavirus pandemic crisis having affected the progress of the piped gas project in the state, though disappointing, is one of the many such ventures which have been stalled due to the absence of labour and lockdown restrictions. While the Opposition has been crying hoarse over the government’s haste to rush into developmental works during these trying times, they only deserved to be ignored as the usual ramblings of a dispensation which gnaws away in desperation for want of any sensible issue to corner the government with. With the steep rise in infections and mortality rates, it could be said without an iota of doubt that Goans themselves are responsible for their own misery!
It is well known that the spread of the coronavirus disease involves interactions of two populations: the susceptible(s) and the infective(s). According to medical experts, the spread of the virus is extremely complex and multi-parameter. People are being infected by those who are already infected by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own nose, mouth, or possibly their eyes. Moreover, the interaction and travelling of people is what actually enables the virus to spread so quickly.
Yet the Goa government has eased restrictions on all business operations, to the extent of having permitted even the graveyard shifts in industries. The Junta night curfew imposed in the state till August 10 was intended to check the unwanted movement of people. Despite the spike though, the citizens have not been serious about following the norms as is evident from the ‘nocturnal’ rush which apparently keep them amused even now.
Hence, it would not be all that right to go with the public perception that while ensuring livelihood for its people, the Goa government has failed miserably to safeguard their lives! By their indifferent attitude people are endangering not only their own lives, but others as well!(Published on 03rd August 2020, Volume XXXII, Issue 32)