Every Monday to Saturday, The Dispatch brings to you a selection of Editorials from leading newspapers across the country.
Aapne kya Kiya?
“PM-CM meetings, state governments have shaped response to pandemic. Blaming Opposition is a sign of weakness,” reads the editorial of The Indian Express. It further reads, “Magar aapne kya kiya (but what have you done)?”, Union Home Minister Amit Shah asked “vipaksh ke log” while addressing a virtual rally for Odisha from New Delhi on Monday. Shah’s question to the Opposition was typical of his combative style. Yet it ill fitted the moment. This is a time when, amid an unprecedented public health emergency, the government is in the driving seat like never before — leading and coordinating the fight against a pandemic, making consequential moves that affect the lives and livelihoods of millions, including and especially the most vulnerable. Many of these decisions, by their very nature, are and should be open to debate — the length and stringency of the lockdown, the handling of the migrants’ crisis, the width of the economic relief package, the depth of its reach. Each and every one of them invites legitimate questions that must be asked by, among others, the political Opposition. And answered by, squarely, the government alone.” read the full editorial here.
Battling terror in Jammu and Kashmir
“New Delhi must remain vigilant both on the political and security front,” reads the editorial of Jammu and Kashmir. It further reads, “On Monday, Ajay Pandita — an elected sarpanch in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district — was shot dead by terrorists. This is the second targeted killing of a local grassroots leader, after another sarpanch was shot dead in November. Pandita’s killing is a reminder of political and security challenges in the Valley.Despite the coronavirus pandemic spreading widely in Pakistan and devastating its economy, its military-intelligence complex has not let go of its sponsorship of terror across the border. Be it through constant attempts at infiltration, stoking tensions across the Line of Control, or spreading fear through terror proxies in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), Pakistan continues to seek to destabilise India. New Delhi will have to remain vigilant, ensure sharper intelligence collection, keep its security personnel on high alert, and protect its citizens and political leaders in J&K,” read the full editorial here.
“Focus on reviving demand to soften the blow,” reads the editorial of Indian Express. It further reads, “The coronavirus pandemic and the consequent lockdown have already taken a heavy toll on lives and livelihoods worldwide, even in the most developed countries. The situation is set to go from bad to worse, with the World Bank foreseeing that global economy will shrink by 5.2 per cent this financial year — the worst recession since World War II. David Malpass, president of the US-based multilateral lender, fears that many emerging markets and developing countries will find it tougher to achieve a financial turnaround as a considerable share of their employment is in the informal sector. Thus, the economic prospects are very bleak for India, the new hotspot of Covid-19 along with Russia and Brazil. According to the World Bank, Indian economy will contract by 3.2 per cent in 2020-21 — Goldman Sachs’ forecast for the contraction is as high as 5 per cent — even as a stringent lockdown that lasted over two months and took away crores of jobs has, for all practical purposes, come to an end” reads the full editorial here.
“Citizens and businesses can lead safe behaviours, with governments playing enabling role,” reads the editorial of The Times of India. It further reads, “As ‘Unlock 1’ gathers pace more and more offices, factories, malls, restaurants and even places of worship have resumed work. But there’s a smell of disinfectant in the air, the temperature gun is being liberally wielded, and the attempt at physical distancing is widespread. In this new normal, beyond following official guidelines, citizens and businesses are actively shaping safe practices for their specific contexts. Going forward, governments must not lose sight of this collective nature of the struggle against Covid,” read the full editorial here.
Dream soured: $5 trillion economy is a chimera
“The Centre may try to wish away the crisis and tie India’s destiny to a kite of imagined numbers, but it is not going to change perceptions on the ground,” reads the Editorial of The Telegraph. It further reads, “A torrent of bad news, dismal data and dire forecasts continue to mock the Narendra Modi government’s increasingly feeble assertions that it has a grip on the Covid-19 crisis. The World Bank has now forecast a 3.2 per cent contraction in the Indian economy this fiscal. Later this month, the International Monetary Fund is expected to review the projection in its World Economic Outlook in April which said India and China would buck the global trend and achieve growth rates of 1.9 and 1.2 per cent, respectively, this year. Kristalina Georgieva, the IMF’s managing director, said last month that the world economy might take longer to recover from the coronavirus shock and indicated that the Fund might pare its forecast of a 3.2 per cent contraction in the global economy. The World Bank has projected a sharp 5.2 per cent contraction in the world economy. If the IMF pares its forecast as well, the world would be looking at the miserable prospect of a recession on a scale that has not been seen since the end of the Second World War. Most economists believe that the Indian economy will contract by up to 5 per cent this year. With the tax-to-GDP ratio tumbling to a 10-year low of 9.88 per cent in the year ended March 31 and a fiscal deficit that is expected to soar above 7 per cent from last year’s level of 4.6 per cent, Moody’s Investor Services had good enough reason to downgrade the sovereign credit rating to its lowest investment grade of Baa3,” read the full editorial here.
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