Edit & Opinion

In India’s Opinion | The Dispatch on 15 June, 2020

Every Monday to Saturday, The Dispatch brings to you a selection of Editorials from leading newspapers across the country.


As Delhi fumbles

“It shows that it did not use lockdown well. AAP government must urgently get its act together,” reads the editorial of The Indian Express. It further reads, “On Sunday, Home Minister Amit Shah announced several measures to address Delhi’s worsening COVID-19 crisis. The Modi government will provide 500 railway coaches to Delhi in view of the shortage of beds, testing will be doubled in the next two days and tripled after six, a committee under the chairmanship of Niti Aayog member V K Paul has been tasked with finding ways to ensure availability of larger number of beds in private hospitals at lower rates, and to fix the rate of coronavirus testing and treatment. These much-needed measures also draw attention to the Delhi government’s inability and failure to use the 10-week lockdown to bolster the city’s healthcare infrastructure. With Delhi recording in excess of 1,000 cases daily for more than two weeks now, hospitals are evidently struggling to cope with the emergency. There have been several reports of patients running from pillar to post in search of hospital beds — many have reportedly succumbed to the disease in the process. Last week, the Supreme Court upbraided the Delhi government for its handling of the crisis and directed it to “take immediate remedial action” read the full Editorial here.


The downpour

“Double challenge of Covid and Monsoon is baring gaps in Mumbai infrastructure that must be addressed,” reads the editorial of The Indian Express. It further reads,” In a season of disturbingly telling social media posts by weary resident doctors in municipal hospitals amid the COVID-19 curve’s continued sharp rise, Mumbai welcomed the south-west monsoon over the weekend. With the first downpour has come a rising tide of worries regarding how the virus will behave in the wet months and how the city’s annual deluge of malaria, gastroenteritis, leptospirosis and dengue will impact health infrastructure that is barely holding up right now. Densely populated areas and slum colonies, where the maximum numbers of COVID-19 cases have been recorded, also tend to report high incidence of water-borne and vector-borne diseases every monsoon. Municipal health staff will soon be additionally tasked with screening and surveying families in areas that witness floods, for distribution of doxycycline and azithromycin to prevent outbreaks of leptospirosis. More than 20 lakh families were screened in July last year, but such an extensive exercise this year will be difficult. Every June, lakhs visit municipal clinics and require diagnostic tests with viral and malarial fever symptoms. Testing facilities, fever clinics, municipal health outposts and hospitals, all stretched impossibly thin already, are preparing for a more demanding challenge ahead,” read the full editorial here.

For the doctors

“SC sets tone, there’s a lot that needs to be set right,” reads the editorial of The Tribune. It further reads, “Nothing can be more disconcerting than the country’s apex court having to intervene to ensure that doctors and medical workers at the forefront of the fight against Covid-19 are paid their salaries and given proper accommodation. ‘In war, you do not make soldiers unhappy. Travel the extra mile, address grievances,’ the Centre had to be told. Doctors having to strike work over non-payment of wages for three months and that too in the national capital, right under the nose of the Union and Delhi governments, is shameful. There was a flicker of hope that the pandemic would finally shift focus to the healthcare sector, that’s all but gone. The State and its constituents, it appears, would rather indulge themselves with the easy part: bring out ‘thalis’ and shower petals,” read the full editorial here

A renewed effort in Delhi

“The Centre and Delhi must continue to work together to battle the coronavirus pandemic,” read the editorial of The Hindustan Times. It further reads, “Delhi is in the middle of a crisis. With a surge in cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), an increase in fatality rate, widespread accounts of the struggle to get tested or/and get hospital admissions, and a projection of 532,000 cases by the end of July and the need for 150,000 beds by then, the pandemic has truly come home to the national capital. It was clear that the Delhi government, led by Arvind Kejriwal, needed help. The fact that Delhi is the Capital, there is a unique division of powers that exists between the Centre and the state, and Delhi’s health facilities are used by citizens across the country made it even more essential for the central government to step in,” reads the editorial of the Hindustan Times.


Defeating Covid demands good coordination between Centre and states


“Over the next two days Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be holding virtual meetings with all the chief ministers. Since these meetings are specifically in relation to the challenges of containing the Covid-19 pandemic, the states appear to have been divided into two groups based on how seriously they are currently affected by the pandemic,” reads the Editorial of The Times of India . It further reads, The spread of the infection is showing different trajectories in different parts of the country. This will continue to be the case in months to come. States acting at odds with each other has already proved counterproductive. Overall coordination of resources and strategies is going to remain key in getting us all through this. It is necessary to suspend politics as usual in these circumstances. To illustrate, NDA should refrain from destabilizing the Congress government in Rajasthan and various coalition egos in Maha Vikas Aghadi should not run amok at this critical juncture for Maharashtra. For states where fiscal to medical resources are stretched very thin, Centre needs to be a pillar of material and knowledge support,” read the full editorial here.


Army colours: Not in domestic politics

“India’s military has a proud, untainted heritage. There is still time to reclaim it” reads the editorial of The Telegrapah. It further reads, “in a democracy, the military cannot associate itself with domestic politics. That this principle is non-negotiable has been emphasized by the unprecedented apology made by General Mark Milley, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff of the United States of America. Referring to his presence next to the US president, Donald Trump, during the walk up to St John’s Episcopal Church for a photo-opportunity after the police had dispersed with force peaceful protesters against George Floyd’s killing, General Milley said that it had led to a national debate on the role of the military in civil life. He should not have been there. This forthright statement cannot have pleased the president, who, like certain other leaders in democracies in recent times, likes to boost his nationalistic credentials by showing off his control of the military. The scrupulously duty-conscious leaders of the US armed forces, however, are willing to displease the president on matters of principle,” read the full editorial here.


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