Why in News?
The central govt has announced a 140% increase in the subsidy on Di-Ammonium Phosphate (DAP) which is estimated to cost the exchequer an additional Rs 14775 crore in the coming Kharif season alone.
Syllabus–GS2: Issues related to Public Policy
- Photographs of dead bodies floating in the Ganga have been amongst the most painful and distressing images of the second wave of the pandemic. The wave took almost everyone by surprise.
- The government had almost declared victory over Covid in late February/early March and people had lowered their guard. No one could guess that the virus was lurking round the corner, waiting to hit back hard.
- The contagion started surging around late March in Mumbai; it spread like wildfire first in Maharashtra, and then in Delhi, Karnataka, and many other states in April. Our political leaders were busy with state assembly elections.
- There was unprecedented panic, with people dying in hospitals and others gasping for breath due to oxygen shortage.
- Black marketing of oxygen cylinders, concentrators and essential drugs made things worse. The government seemed to have lost control and many declared India a failed state.
What is the issue?
- The 2nd wave surprised India, taking the death toll to more than 1 Lakh in the past two months.
- The govt seemed to have lost control & many declared India as a failed state because
- There was unprecedented panic with people dying in hospitals & others gasping for breath due to oxygen shortage.
- Black marketing of oxygen cylinders, concentrators & essential drugs made the situation worse.
- But due to the combined effort of all stakeholders, the situation from the past week seemed to be improving in the major cities.
- But it is now time to think & take quick action to contain the spread of the virus in villages.
- The farmers are the major constituents of rural India who are responsible for India’s food security.
- Among all the Punjab agriculturists stand tall amongst the farming community.
- But today it is the most affected by the COVID virus by registering the highest deaths among all states. The reason for it:
- Farmers’ agitation that violated the COVID guidelines is the main cause behind the high caseload.
- Also, ignorance & denial of COVID among agitating farmers is another reason.
- Lack & weak health infrastructure in the rural areas.
- The consequences if timely & necessary actions not taken would spell disaster & destroy the entire rural ecosystem.
- The main solution seems to be the vaccination of the entire India.
- But according to NITI Aayog, it takes another 6 months to vaccinate 80% of the population.
- Until then, people need to follow the COVID-related guidelines strictly.
- Take timely medical care in the initial stages.
- Timely & regularly addressing the nation & generating awareness about the govt’s preparedness.
- NITI Aayog needs to work Actively with NGOs, corporates & coordinating international aid for smooth & timely medical supplies flow.
- Convincing rural people about vaccination.
- Upgrading the rural primary health care infrastructure.
- Stocking vaccines in rural areas need to be provided with controlled temperatures & power supply using solar power.
- This also generates new jobs while giving a fillip to health infrastructure with a green footprint.
- Setting up vaccination camps at the panchayat level.
- The vulnerable MGNREGA workers are needed to be incentivized for a vaccination with a free food/cash reward
The need of the hour is a calibrated response that balances economic & health concerns based on a sound vaccine strategy. At the same time, a big push with regards to infrastructure & supporting MSME in rural areas can go a long way in saving lives & livelihoods. Discuss.