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A One-Horse Indian Democracy

April 20, 2020 | By

  • With a long executive ministerial experience at the Central Government P. Chidambaram sums up the present coronavirus-created situation: “The poor have been left to fend for themselves for 21-19 (40) days. The survival does not appear to be the priority of the Central Government. Chief Ministers are at their wit’s end. Hunger is widespread, malnutrition entrenched. Why the Government cannot allocate up to Re 65,000 crores of out expenditure budget of Re 30 lakh crores to provide cash support to 50 percent of families, is a mystery”.
  • That mystery could be solved only through the State-Citizens partnership. With Parliament and Judiciary totally silent only Executive’s head, PM has been seeking solidarity of and sacrifice of all Indians at this juncture. In a democracy, solidarity means not pity or compassion but giving out justice to citizens. If UP government arranges buses for students stranded at Kota to transport them to home, why this facility and dignity was denied to migrant labour with police forcing them to survive as beggars on erratic food supply.
  • Lockdown/ curfew is just slowing down or hiding coronavirus and the government seems to be following a strategy, “Test none, find none”. While official news about corona are filtered why no one bothered about fake news in media about Tablighis?  
  • Constitutionally, states are to take care of health, sanitation, testing, and quarantine but the money required for this is lying in Central Government’s Treasury. Where is so-called Cooperative Federalism? States can borrow only with permission from the Centre which is not allowing them.
  • Chief Minister says Punjab has not given a penny for corona. The state has received only one-third of its GST arear of Re 7000 crores. But Harsimrat Kaur Badal contradicts the CM. Why she, as Central Minister, makes exact figures public?

* Jaspal Singh Sidhu is senior retired journalist. 

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