Edit & Opinion

In India’s Opinion | The Dispatch on 22 May 2020

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

A diplomatic opening

“Consensus at WHO shows it is possible to construct a middle path amid deepening confrontation between China and America,” reads the editorial of The Indian Express. It further reads, “The unanimous resolution approved by the World Health Assembly on Tuesday night, calling for an inquiry into the origin and spread of the coronavirus and the international community’s response to it, masks a more complex diplomatic story. That the US and China have agreed to the resolution after prolonged acrimony in recent weeks over the origin of coronavirus, is indeed a surprise. The US wanted members of the World Health Organisation to pin the blame on Beijing for keeping the world in the dark about the nature of the virus that broke out in the Chinese city of Wuhan at the turn of the year, letting it spread to other countries, and manipulating the WHO leadership into inaction. China, which vehemently denied these charges and proffered accusations of its own against the US, rejected the talk of any inquiry.”  read the full editorial here.

Amphan brings a message

“Disaster preparation has got better. Focus now on rebuilding,” claims the editorial of Hindustan Times. It further reads,” Cyclone Amphan, the most severe storm in the Bay of Bengal since 1999, battered India (Odisha and West Bengal), and Bangladesh, on Wednesday. Between the two Indian states, West Bengal was hit the hardest as the cyclone made landfall in the Sundarbans at a top speed of 185 kmph, but went parallel to the Odisha coast. Winds decreased as the cyclone moved north-northeast, but it was powerful enough to destroy uncemented houses, uproot trees and crops and electric pylons, and caused rivers to breach their embankments,” read the full editorial here.


“States developing their own Covid 19 apps will make meaningful data collection difficult,” claims the Editorial of Financial Express. It further reads “STATE GOVERNMENT RELYING technology to beat COVID 19 would normally be a good thing but with a line of Seats from states (or at least them), not only is COVID 19 data gathering becoming fragmented, but some of the credibility of the Centre’s Aarogya Setu is also taking a beating.
“As itis, Aarogya Setu has come under attack from privacy advocates for asking for a dutch of user data that can be used to profile a person. It certainly doesn’t help if the other Status fall further short of ensuring privacy and security. On Tuesday, an Indian Express report highlighted that most of the 24 apps that different states have deployed have been developed by private companies. Besides having access to sensitive patient data, they have little Liability in case of a breach. The report also points to Telangana’s T-Covid-19 initiative, which only provides the userwith preventive care information and government advisories tasks for location and other access,” it reads.
“States Relying on data to keep track of movement and infection in containment genesis laudable; indeed, had states been tracking this data earlier a lot many infections could have been traced. But, too many initiatives that lead users to question the governments intent marthe whole process of contact tracing. It would be better for states to assess what datasets they require and let Aarogya Setu build in those developments. For instance, helpline numbers for different states can be linked with the central helpline. So, if someone tries to call, they can be redirected to their state helpline. Similarly, a test booking at nearest centres can be made via the app. This will also make contact tracing effective as all users will be logged on to one app, which can collate data,” reads the editorial.

Fly again

“Airlines need a supportive policy environment to return to the skies,” reads the editorial of The Times of India. It further reads, “The limited resumption of air travel planned from Monday is a sign that lockdowns are yielding to the imperative of restarting the economy. Complete freedom to travel outside containment zones, accompanied by the scaling up of all public transport modes, is critical to economic revival. Aviation of course is a sector that has been gravely wounded by the pandemic. After zero revenues for two months, airlines need a supportive policy environment to resume business. And as we now know that masks, frequent use of sanitisers and other disinfection measures offer a reasonable measure of protection, it’s time that fear psychosis gives way to a ‘new normal,” read the full editorial here.

Allay flyers fears

“Domestic air travel needs foolproof safety measures,” suggests the editorial of The Tribune. It further suggested that the Centre has allowed partial resumption of domestic passenger digits from May 25, exactly two months after these were suspended owing to the nationwide lockdown.
It’s a surprise move as the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), while issuing guidelines for Lockdown 4.0, had initially prohibited domestic and international air travel, except for medical and security purposes. On Wednesday, however, the MHA removed domestic commercial flights from the list of activities debates during the ongoing lockdown that ends on May 31 Even as the Civil Aviation Ministry has released guidelines for airlines, airports and passengers, it will be a challenge for all to adhere to the exacting safety protocol.”A major stumbling block – the fears and apprehensions of travellers — would have to be dealt with at the outset It’s a race against time for various airport and airline authorities as they must ensure that everything is in place by Monday. A longer window would have been preferable, but the domestic aviation industry has been hit so hard by the Covid breakdown that it will grab this opportunity ty to put things back on track. A leading Indian credit rating and research agency recently projected revenue losses of Rs 25,000 crore during the ongoing financial year for this industry, which is inextricably linked with the tourism sector and OTAs (online travel agencies in Air travel is the quickest mode of transport for long distances; amu a pandemic, it’s arguably the safest as well,” it reads further.”Sull, the industry would have to come up with confidence-building measures to reassure passengers and make them get back on a plane, Physical distancing on board is a prerequisite that ought to necessitate modification of the seating arrangement. No less important is airconditioning and the possibility of airborne transmission of the virus. Regular monitoring of the airflow is essential to providing a safe environment to the flyers as well as the crew If all stakeholders act responsibly, the restart of domestic air travel could give a much-needed fillip not only to the aviation and allied sectors but also to Indian economy on the whole,” reads the editorial.








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