15 Ways We Indians Can Improve On Our Battle With Covid19
Amidst the universal crisis due to Covid19 - India - a nation accommodating almost 17% of the global population and home to the world’s most densely populated cities - is ultra-vulnerable.
The Union Government of India and various State Governments in India have taken stringent actions. Still, all these efforts, including a never-before nationwide lock-down, don’t seem to be controlling the spread of Covid19, a disease possessing significant threat to India’s overburdened healthcare sector and economy in general.
India has shown great unity in the fight against Covid19. From staying indoors and helping those in need, to coming up with innovative ways to cope with obscure problems caused by the pandemic - Indians are on their toes. But the fight is not yet over - it is going to be a long battle. Many novel measures will have to be taken to fight “Novel Corona” - here are few suggestions by
Covid19 is a global pandemic and a national threat when it comes to India. A Pan-India uniform combat mechanism is needed to deal with such a crisis. A high-level committee comprising of The Prime Minister of India and Heads of States across the nation can be formulated to discuss the situation and make critical decisions. A daily review by the aides of the dignitaries in this committee can take place. The review frequency can be altered as the situation improves.
Considering the rising number of cases erupting in different parts of the country, the lock-down part 2 till 3rd May 2020 should be very strictly implemented. The monitoring should be done by the Union Home Ministry, and critical controls should remain with the Union Government. Covid19 is a national emergency, and the Central Government should control law and order mechanisms throughout the nation, unlike otherwise where the State Governments are responsible for law and order situation in their respective states.
#3 SOS Relief Mechanism
An SOS relief mechanism needs to function at all district levels in rural and sub-urban areas, and ward level in Corporation limits. This mechanism can be observed by the DMs/Collectors and Corporation officials, respectively. These officials should be responsible for working out a quick remedy to address the issues arising due to the nationwide lock-down.
Several steps can be taken to ensure that people have an option to come out of their homes and breathe fresh air. All this can be done in a controlled manner, and public places like parks, beaches, etc. can be made selectively accessible while observing all Covid19 social distancing protocols. Forces like CRPF, RPF can be used to monitor such places. Governments can consider charging nominal fees to avoid overcrowding of these places.
By now, it is evident that the battle with Covid19 will be a long-term activity; thus, an independent ministry at the Union Government can be made to govern the exercise. The minister of the Covid19 ministry can be made of cabinet rank and should be a part of the high-level committee discussed earlier in this post.
Most of the hospitals across the nation are used to treat Covid19 patients, and they are functioning with limited strength for other medical emergencies. Thus, completely independent infrastructure by using already existing structures or a temporary tented structure should be created at all district levels. Such infrastructure can be shared by two or more districts in case one of them is observing a higher number of cases. This infrastructure should be extendible in case the crisis intensifies. This action will also make the default healthcare mechanism available to do its routine business. The exclusive Covid19 infrastructure can be set-up at locations a few kilometers away from the inhabited part of districts.
Authorities are doing free tests for Covid19 suspects, and the approximate cost of testing is assumed to be Rs 4500. But an independent mechanism can be operated to accept bookings for a Covid19 test. People wanting to get tested for Covid19 can book a test at a dynamic price. Dynamically priced testing will help generate money to conduct extensive testing as more and more testing kits are available.
While the essential commodity supply chains are allowed to operate while the lock-down is going, other industries that can operate while maintaining social distancing protocols can be allowed to reopen. The agriculture industry is one such where social distancing is easily possible. Agricultural activities will allow the daily wage laborers from this industry to earn their living. But all this should be done under strict observation. The goal of lock-down is to maintain social distancing and break the chain, not to ruin the economy. The economic disadvantages of lock-down is a side-effect that can be eliminated with due caution.
“Work From Home” is an emerging practice that is experimented by many corporates for the past few years. The current lock-down has allowed us a massive trial of this culture. We can preserve this culture and motivate people to work from home. Companies can be advised, and even laws can be framed to implement this practice. Besides many other gains, This will relax the overburdened public transport and help combat the pollution problem in India. We should never forget that pollution has been the key concern for the world until Covid19 turned-up.
Two people who are Covid19 negative can meet each other without any worry. Public representatives like MPs, MLAs, Munciple Councillors, Gram Panchayat Members can help local administration to reach out to socially active people to volunteer for a program to carry out Covid19 checking using the Aarogya Setu app checklist. Certificates can be issued to apartments and housing societies as well as the villages that they are Covid19 free zones. People from such Covid19 free zones can meet each other while maintaining adequate care, but they won’t be allowed to access other areas that are not certified as Covid19 free zones.
Education authorities can come up with a Covid19 crash course and ask various educational institutions to run this crash course and issue certificates.
Cash prizes should be announced by governments to motivate healthcare workers. This money can be distributed once the Covid19 fight reaches its key goals.
Covid19 patients should be assured certificates and rewards on making a recovery. We must understand that the mortality rate of Covid19 is low if compared to many other deadly diseases. It is soothing to remember that the recovery rate is also significant.
Pure air, almost zero noise pollution, clean streets, less crowded public places, unburdened public transport, better hygiene habits, and more. Let’s make all this permanent.
Covid19 crisis has long term side effects. From healthcare, the economy, to the general level of compassion we maintain as a society - everything is about to change. This can be an ultra-modern solution. The current socio-economic scenario demands the involvement of the private sector in public affairs. We know how India’s infrastructure has changed after implementation of Public-Private Partnership (PPP) - this approach can be an advanced version of the same PPP model.
A for-profit company can be floated with the Government of India as a principal stakeholder. Other stakeholders can be private companies and individual citizens. The company can raise money against its equity. The existing network of banks, NBFCs, insurance companies, and other financial institutions can be utilized to reach out to people and seek investment. While this will allow the banking, finance, and insurance sector another revenue model, the public-private jointly run company can raise colossal money. This step can ensure that 20% to 30% of Indians who are capable of investing small-to-large amounts in anticipation of future growth, will invest. The government can not raise this volume of money by taxes or donations - precisely in the current situation.
The money raised by this company can be poured in companies from sectors like banking, finance, affordable insurance, healthcare, post-covid19 infrastructure, and startups offering solutions for a post covid19 lifestyle. The company must also invest in the biosciences sector, which has a key responsibility to come up with a covid19 medication. Lastly, the company can invest in reshaping the industries affected by Covid19.
The form of this company will make it’s functioning more transparent and help us combat Covid19, and it’s after effect in a professional as well and publically visible manner. Such a public-private entity will also change the way democratically elected governments operate in India.
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