- As the pandemic raged across the universe where unknown dangers at the time ensured anxiety, uncertainty, and apprehensions leaving none unaffected, every other country initiated an effort at inventing an effective vaccine to fight the menace on a war footing. Nothing much has changed on the ground though definite measures at vaccine invention are underway as many candidates are undergoing different phases of trials rising hopes of early usage to tame the virus. Hopefully, positive indicators available point to welcome news soon bringing a much-needed breather for all.
Pc: Leverage EDU
- As normalcy gradually returns to every sphere of life even if the virus is not conquered or vanquished, our country’s unique phenomenon of playing to the gallery is on full resplendent display as the legislative assembly elections get underway in the coming months. Come election time, we, the countrymen, are quite exposed to alluring dolls, incentives, inducements, promises, and assurances that are freely propagated as per the party manifesto. It is another matter altogether as to how many would factually buy into the same knowing how it pans out eventually.
- With the Bihar assembly elections scheduled in the coming days, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s manifesto released recently by the Union Finance Minister promises free SARS-COV-2 vaccine for all as and when the same is made available. Immediately seizing on the matter, the opposition parties are up in arms questioning and slamming the BJP’s poll promise as extremely insensitive coming in the backdrop of challenging times and unmitigated hardships faced by the migrant labourers. Several others apolitical’ s too have joined the bandwagon in criticizing the move.
Pc: Leverage EDU
- On its part, the BJP has defended the announcement as a justified promise like many promises made by the political parties leading up to any election viz. free rice/TVs/cycles/laptops/stipends/cellphones, and the list is endless. As if on cue, few other State Governments too made announcements assuring the availability of free vaccines for all. Note that the phenomenon is neither uncommon nor unheard-of, but the timing of the vaccine announcement certainly rises intentions of the Union Government’s plan of action envisaged in the coming days.
- In a densely populated country like India, vaccine delivery presents uniquely complex challenges that cannot be addressed satisfactorily or in a desired manner by mere populism with its simplistic claims aiming at solving citizens’ difficult problems in a jiffy. An unhealthy fight to garner vaccine stocks or bias in distribution will be self-defeating aggravating the already problematic situation rather than mitigating it.The need of the hour is to not politicize or resort to business as usual populism that might not fit into the national narrative under the most trying circumstances.
Pc: Anadolu Agency
- The Union Government should unambiguously specify a national policy by coopting State Governments in clearly delineating how many vaccine doses will be available soon, who will be accorded priority and what extent of subsidy to be extended, the logistics of storage, cold chains, distribution, and financing models for the benefit of all concerned. Populism at the altar of nationalism should be abhorred at any cost for the battered countrymen would expect sensitivity and not the least playing with precious lives.