How Modi Failed the Pandemic Test – By Hartosh Singh Bal
India has been under a lockdown to stem the spread of the coronavirus for two months. The most significant question now is whether the government has made adequate use of the time the long lockdown bought it to prepare for the problems that lie ahead. The number of cases is rising steadily and is expected to continue to rise as the lockdown is now being lifted in the face of increasing pressure on the economy.
The starkest failure of Mr. Modi’s coronavirus strategy has been the devastation and misery it imposed on India’s informal sector workers, mostly people from impoverished villages, who work in Indian cities, without a safety net.… With the public transport suspended, the workers set out on foot, walking hundreds of miles in temperatures as high as 100 degrees Fahrenheit. In May alone more than 150 migrant workers walking back home have been killed in road or train accidents.
Mr. Modi has a history of announcing sweeping measures with great fanfare and little administrative preparation or follow-up. He and his government will have to move beyond their focus on managing public perception.