Nishikant Dubey | BJP MP for Godda, Jharkhand
The Indian Express
The author explains that since around 70 per cent of Indian healthcare services are provided by the private sector, if private healthcare crumbles, India’s entire healthcare system will collapse. He delves into India’s poor ratio of doctors to population — 1:1,445, instead of the WHO recommended 1:1,000. “India has a shortage of about 6 lakh doctors and 20 lakh nurses and an even greater number of supporting medical staff,” he writes. To fight Covid-19 and other crises that will come up, India needs 2.07 million more doctors in the next decade. “For this,” writes Dubey, “the government needs to increase its spending on the health sector. It needs to aid attempts at constructing new medical institutes. The arrangement can be a semi-private or public-private partnership,” which will boost the healthcare sector and the economy.
Pratap Bhanu Mehta | Contributing editor, Indian Express
The Indian Express
In a scathing piece about the current crisis in India from the deaths of labourers to trains heading to the wrong destinations, Pratap Bhanu Mehta uses the device of a mock conversation in heaven among leaders of India’s freedom movement and sociopolitical landscape. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Hansa Mehta, Rabindranath Tagore, Bhim Rao Ambedkar, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Sri Aurobindo, Sarojini Naidu, Jayaprakash Narayan, Deen Dayal Upadhyay and Sardar Patel are some of the figures who feature. The conversation started by Narada, a Hindu mythological figure, musician and storyteller, revolves around the searing image of a child trying to wake up his dead mother at a railway station in Bihar.
Rakesh Sood | Former diplomat and currently Distinguished Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation
Rakesh Sood writes that the need of the hour is a “fundamental reset” for the India- Nepal relations which has declined in recent times. While the immediate trigger is the territorial dispute over the Kalapani area, Sood says the issues are more complex. He examines and analyses the complexity of issues between the two neighbouring countries — Kalapani and the maps, Nepali nationalism and the idea of India as a paternalistic Big Brother figure. The former diplomat argues that these complexities cannot be dealt with by “rhetoric or unilateral map-making exercises. Such brinkmanship only breeds mistrust and erodes the goodwill at the people-to-people level. Political maturity is needed to find creative solutions that can be mutually acceptable.”
One year of Modi 2.0: It’s seen extraordinary economic and political crises. Covid only exposed the glaring gaps
MV Rajeev Gowda | Congress MP and national spokesperson
The Times of India
The author questions Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s handling of the Covid-19 and migrant crisis. Gowda argues that the coronavirus pandemic has only exposed the “glaring gaps” in India’s economic and political scenario. The Congress MP says that as India fights a pandemic along with an economic crisis, at this critical point, all Indians need to be a part of the “collective effort directed towards recovery.” Gowda adds that even if a single person’s energy is diverted towards an “ideological agenda”, it will contribute to the country’s doom. The Congress spokesperson further writes that Narendra Modi can either restore India by focusing on repairing the economy, healing the poor and dropping “communal agendas” or he can “misinterpret the mandate as one for divisive leadership.”
Manisha Priyam | Associate professor, NIEPA
Mridusmita Bordoloi | Senior researcher, Accountability Initiative, Centre for Policy Research
The authors write that the stories of migrant workers suffering highlights an “unequal society” that has led to a humanitarian crisis amid an unprecedented health crisis. They document their conversations with migrant labourers to understand about their anxieties and experiences that made them take the “punishing journey” from big cities to the villages of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. The lack of basic amenities, inability to feed their children without ration cards in cities they were stranded in and the absence of security to protect themselves from Covid-19 made them desperate. The writers conclude that India needs to do much better, beginning with inclusive labour reforms and policies.
Claude Smadja | President of Smadja & Smadja
The Business Standard
The author argues that despite the worsening Covid situation in the US, President Donald Trump is scapegoating China, which is “the best way to distract attention from his inept attitude towards the pandemic”. Trump’s assumption that the widespread perception in China is that the regime has been quite efficient in taming the pandemic, is “egoistical”. This goes against US’s national interests and creates dangerous geopolitical risks, the author notes. China is much more than the Soviet Union and the US’ position is not the same. Therefore, Washington has become a centre of geopolitical risks, writes Smadja.
Indira Rajaraman | Economist
The government’s excessive fiscal conservatism should be seen separately from the slow response to the “desperate exodus of migrant workers from urban India,” the author notes. If the Shramik trains were run two months ago, disease transmission would have been better contained, she says, adding that it is wrong to imagine that direct fiscal expenditure is “better at boosting consumer demand than supply-side restoration”. She says that both types of stimulus generate incomes which lead to the flow of consumer demand. She also points that fiscal stimulus with more than 1 per cent of GDP may not be advisable at this juncture.
Ramanan Laxminarayan | Director, CDDEP & senior research scholar, Princeton University
The author comments that Covid-19 testing has greater importance for transmission reduction in the absence of the lockdown, which has only delayed the epidemic’s peak. The author also suggests pool-testing in high-risk populations which would be “far more productive than the current approach”. Explaining three stages of the infection, he also explains what the testing should focus on in each stage. Now that lockdown, which bought India time, is ending, he says, a clear testing strategy focused on reducing mortality is the need of the hour.
D Ravi Kanth | Columnist
Hindu Business Line
The Covid-19 pandemic has acted as a catalyst on the economic front and has accelerated the economic Cold War between the US and China, the author comments. The UK and the US in the 19th and 20th centuries, “respectively adopted extreme nationalist economic policies and stole technologies from other countries, including China and India.” While the US has abandoned the leadership role at several multilateral institutions, including the World Trade Organization and now the World Health Organization, China’s role is rising. Therefore, the economic Cold War between US and China will continue to “persist for years to come in one form or the other,” Kanth writes.
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