News & Events
In this section, we are presenting our readers/aspirants compilation of selected editorials of national daily viz. The Hindu, The live mint,The Times of India, Hindustan Times, The Economic Times, PIB etc. This section caters the requirement of Civil Services Mains (GS + Essay) , PCS, HAS Mains (GS + Essay) & others essay writing competition.
1. Repair sarkar: The ventilator muddle highlights wastage of precious resources even in an emergency
The massive second Covid wave lays bare how authorities are often unable to effectively marshal even those resources available to them. India’s political system has reached a sharp bend in its democratic evolution where the detritus of bad governance is surfacing alongside great public anger. Dependence on obsequious bureaucrats and on defanged experts who are requisitioned only at crisis time stands exposed too. To take command of resources and make them useful to citizens, governance needs a critical reset.
Before the pandemic, India just had 40,000 ventilators and Centre’s sourcing of nearly 50,000 ventilators to states in short time was an impressive feat. But then came inability to function as a harmonious whole. Many ventilators are dysfunctional: 80% of 2,025 ventilators unused in Karnataka, 47/109 in Bihar, 285/320 in Punjab, and 1,400/1,900 in Rajasthan. Excuses like lack of trained staff, shortage of medical consumables, and fear of malfunction were cited for failure to operationalise ventilators. But five states did solve these niggles. The laggards can’t hide their institutional failure to commission training and maintenance for the ventilators.
Also take Goa, ranking highest in per capita GDP, yet failing to iron out oxygen supply problems at just one hospital right under the government’s nose – leading to several avoidable deaths over days. Meanwhile, the chief minister and health minister have appeared to work at cross purposes. With the Covid wave shifting to rural areas, Centre and states are belatedly scrambling to provide testing and oxygen facilities to villages. What was feared in last year’s migrant labour exodus is happening now, but nobody is being held accountable for the months lost in scaling up rural healthcare facilities. Wasted ventilators and oxygen supply glitches would seem metaphors of governance itself in ICU.
Policing those criticising these failures is the wrong instinct. Many shocking media reports of government hospitals crumbling under Covid caseloads expose the inadequacy of top-down governance. Few states have attempted a meaningful decentralisation of powers and funds or encouraged MPs, MLAs and panchayat members to collaborate with state capitals and the district administration to resolve local needs. With PM Modi proposing audits and encouraging states to honestly depict their actual Covid situations, sharp and fast appraisal of institutional deficits must follow to correct cumulative and contemporary failings. Audits are really valuable when they are constructive.
2. Match me up: When it comes to vaccines every arranged marriage is a love marriage
In recent days many readers would have participated in the national game of, chase the vaccine. They would have likened the experience to a steeplechase, chess, ring toss etc depending on what they were upto in school days. But pharma honcho Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw came up with a more honed and universal comparison when she tweeted that, “The vaccine situation in India is like arranged marriage. First u r not ready, then u dont like any, then u dont get any!!” Of course what she described was the (un)happy situation of the 45+ janta that vacillated between Covaxin and Covishield for so long that both of them had run into scarcity before either had run into uncle or aunty’s bicep.
Folks aged 18-44 have had a more Hunger Games kind of experience. No leisurely dilly-dallying for them. From day one it has been merciless competition, no quarters given to social equity or any enlightenment blather at all. Those who have already won the class and genetic lottery with fast internet, all the time to spare hugging Co-Win, techie access to shortcuts (which the deprived call scams), fast neurological responses and fast fingers to ace the OTP maze, well they are so far ahead in the game that there’s just no getting around their head start.
Health minister Harsh Vardhan has assured Mazumdar-Shaw that in time everyone will find their perfect match. This promise follows from the promise of desi and videshi candidates multiplying in the coming months. A diet of Shah Rukh Khan films and Mills & Boon romances gives great credulity to happy ever-afters. But karela, Malthus etc have an opposite effect. Still, leaving aside the minority who don’t want to get jabbed up, the rest of us r ready, far from not liking any we like them all.
3. The climate crisis and cyclones
The warming of oceans means cyclones are now intensifying rapidly. While scientists need more investments in monitoring technology to track cyclones, state governments will now have much less time to take measures for evacuation, and, therefore, must bolster their cyclone preparedness plans now.
A severe cyclonic storm, Tauktae, intensified on Saturday night into a “very severe cyclonic storm” over the east central Arabian Sea, and affected the Kerala, Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra coastline over the weekend. According to the India Meteorological Department, it is “very likely to intensify further” during the next 12 hours, and may cross the Gujarat coast on Tuesday.
While Tauktae is the first cyclone to hit India this year, climate scientists at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) have warned that the Arabian Sea is fast becoming a “cyclone hotbed”. Earlier, the Bay of Bengal used to have more cyclones because the sea surface temperature remains consistently above 28 degree Celsius, while the Arabian Sea area remained a degree or two cooler. But sea surface temperatures in the Arabian Sea have increased rapidly during the past century due to the climate crisis. Now, temperatures are often above the “warm pool threshold”, which supports the formation of intense cyclones. According to IITM, widespread extreme rainfall events (above 150 mm/day) have also increased threefold, thanks to the Arabian Sea’s warming. In reply to a Parliament question in March, the government confirmed that studies show an increasing trend of cyclonic storms over the Arabian Sea, based on data between 1965 and 2020.