COVID-19 vaccination in India has become a matter of serious concern and discussions are going on throughout the World about our mismanagement of COVID-19 vaccination. Why this discussion and why India aspiring a superpower failed in vaccinating its people. This needs introspection. The Union Government is duty bound to explain to the Nation. The magnitude of the second wave has catalyzed the poor Management of the Health Care System of our country. Studies says that India’s Hospital beds per 1000 ratio places it in the Company of Uganda. The Country has only 12.89 lacks Allopathic Doctors for a population of 140 crores. The Government announced that its target is to immunize 300 million of the citizens above 60 years and the frontline workers. Thereafter, it extended the limit to 45 years and above and now it is 18 years and above.
Who is responsible for the present situation where there is no bed, no medicine, no oxygen and no place for cremation as the death rate is becoming so high. Political experts says that collective responsibility of the Cabinet is lost and it is the PMO which is controlling and dictating everything. Ministers have become yes masters.
They further says that the Prime Minister himself is responsible and a senior Journalist has correctly stated that “7 years later brand Modi is in Oxygen”. The PM has said recently “a terrible pandemic that has come after 100 years is targeting the World at every step. There is an invisible enemy in front of us. We have lost many of
those who were close to us. The suffering of the people of this Country has endured in the recent past, the pain that many people have gone through, I am also experiencing the same”. A very late realization. The Government’s team was also busy even in this crisis only to abuse and contradict the critics who have pointed out the shortcomings of the Government Administration during this pandemic. They used Social Media to build up the image of the PM rather to understand the cry and agony of the people and advice the PM to change the style of function and listen to the Opposition Parties, Senior Economists, Physicians and Trade Unions of the Workers who are the major victim in this pandemic. The people of the country become helpless and the Judiciary has to intervene and issue direction to the Union Government to take care of the life of the people which is guaranteed under the Constitution of India.
Government in the name of “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” destroyed the Public Sector, attempting to destroy the 41 Ordnance Factories in the name of Corporatization and Privatization and was propagating "Make in India" is now depending on other countries like Kazakhstan for surgical masks and N-95 Masks. Qatar has supplied Oxygen concentrators. Even Pakistan is offering help.
The Indian PSU’s must have been geared up for Oxygen production during the beginning the second wave in February, 2021. However, PSU’s and Government Organizations like Ordnance Factories and Railways have been made allergic to the Government and they were ignored. Now the PSU’s mainly all our Steel Plants which Government has decided to sell away started Oxygen Production and dispatching to all over the country. No doubt Political Leaders in the helm of the affairs are responsible for this pathetic situation which have washed away the credibility of our country. But what about the bureaucracy. It is a failure of the Indian Administrative System. Cheap gimmicks do not work. Political leaders will be punished by the people for their wrong doings in a democracy through election. What about the bureaucrat. What is their accountability and responsibility.
One of my old friend forwarded a write up to me on the curious case of Indian bureaucracy. He asked if the Health System is failed then what is the accountability of the Health Secretary, if Railways has become bad to be privatized, what is the accountability of the of the Railway Chairman, if Ordnance Factories have become bad to
be corporatized then what is the accountability of the Secretary (DP) and Defence Secretary. Ministers are removed or defeated in the elections for their wrong doings. V.K.Krishnamenon was removed from the post of Defence Minister for his alleged incorrect assessment of 1962 situations. But what happened to the then Defence Secretary who proposed the strategies and policies to the Defence Minister. Nothing happened to him. Similarly during the attack on Hotel Taj, Mumbai dozens of Soldiers and Policemen were killed. The whole nation was shaken. Shivraj Patil had lost his Home Minister Post. The CM of Maharashtra has been axed, but anybody can tell that what action has been taken against the Union Home Secretary and the Chief Secretary of Maharashtra. Indian bureaucracy cannot continue like this. They have to come out from their mindset that whatever happens they are safe. We should stand up for the nation and to bring a new brand of Administrative Service who care for the people and the Country with sensitivity, dedication and commitment. The Country demands a public probe against those who are responsible for the total mismanagement of the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic.
Views expressed are those of C.Srikumar, General Secretary of All India Defence Employees’ Federation (AIDEF) and a senior Trade Union leader of AITUC