The Pandemic and Half-Knowledge | UPSC

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IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 15th Sep 2020

Believe you can and you’re halfway there.– Theodore Roosevelt

Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Editorial Hunt is an initiative to dilute major Editorials of leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Here we choose two editorials on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC MAINS 2020.

EDITORIAL HUNT #137 :“The Pandemic and Half-Knowledge | UPSC

The Pandemic and Half-Knowledge | UPSC

Gopal Krishna Gandhi
The Pandemic and Half-Knowledge | UPSC

Former Governor West Bengal

      HEADLINES:

India’s great silence is the loudest sound

      CENTRAL THEME:

Citizens must unceasingly demand that they be enabled to know the facts of the crises, authoritatively

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : Governance

      MAINS QUESTION:

To know is to be able to control. In the context of Pandemic discuss the role of Governance and Bureaucratic setup. -(GS 2)

      LEARNING: 

  • Misinformation and the Pandemic
  • Role of governance
  • Duties of each organ in Democracy

      INTRODUCTION: 

Ghosts of the Spanish flu (1918-1920), the four great recessions of 1958, 1966, 1973, 1980, and the Sino-Indian conflict (1962) have come together as one torment to plague India.

  • CONTROL : And no one really knows how to handle this multi-headed sprite.
  • BLINDNESS : In fact no one really knows quite what it really is.

      BODY: 

NO REASONED EXPLANATION

  • SOURCES : We have no one in public office telling us what-is-what, convincingly, authoritatively on the epidemic.
  • SAD DISTINCTION : We know that India has surpassed Brazil and the United States to earn the sad distinction of having the fastest-growing  caseload in the world.

COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION?

  • PULLING UP PREPARATIONS : If it is, then is the nation to expect testings, beds and ventilators to match the need .
  • RURAL INDIA : Are India’s villages prepared ? Even remotely prepared, in terms of health centres, equipment to need to meet the challenge.
  • REASONED EXPLANATION : What is the thinking — there has to be one — behind un-locking at the height of the rising curve of infections.

MORE SEARCHING QUESTIONS

  • UNEMPLOYMENT SCALE : Likewise, we do not know, authoritatively, the scale of the impact of our crippling contraction on salaried jobs and non-salaried livelihoods.
  • FEWER EXPORTS : We do not know what agricultural labour are going to do with what has been harvested if the country’s purchasing power has dwindled.
  • MISSING MASTERMIND : There is no financial mastermind in government to educate us, credibly, about this.
  • REFORMER : There are many commentators, there is no social philosopher of pre-eminence among us.

The people of India, to connect the dots of this medico-economic-ecological crisis and help us look behind it to see its global causes. 

  • PROFIT MONOPOLY : That it is the loot of both natural and human resources for the rank profit of monopolies that has wrought and is deepening this pandemic.
  • KNOWLEDGE DEFICIT : And everyone, the government more than anyone else, is learning and un-learning lessons by the day.
  • THEORIES : Very curiously, there are numerous theories on when the vaccine will come.
  • CREDIBILITY : But it does no credit to either human intelligence or to human self-respect to wait, prayerfully, for the materialisation of such a saviour.
  • RECESSION : In the grip of an epidemic, a recession, a muting of questioning voices, and a possible war-like situation, what is it that needs to be done by us, regular folk?

PILLARS OF THE STATE

  • BEING INFORMED : We must unceasingly demand that we be enabled to know the facts of the situation.

EXECUTIVE DUTIES

  • INFORMATION SHARING : Of the three pillars of the state, knowledge-sharing has to be the executive’s duty, privilege.
  • CONTRACTION : We need to know all that needs to be understood about the epidemic, the economic contraction and the situation on our borders with China. This is ineluctable.

War and viruses make a deathly cocktail. World War I, we may remind ourselves, coincided with the 1918-1920 pandemic.

  • COST OF WAR : We need to know, and the Executive needs to tell us, details of the likely cost in terms of public health, public finance of such a war.
  • DIPLOMATIC ENGAGEMENT : The situation on the India-China border needs today not the dangerous diversions of jingoism but pragmatic, diplomatic engagement .

IN PARLIAMENT

LEGISLATURE’s WILL

  • EXAMPLES FROM HISTORY : The Rowlatt Act passed by that Council on March 18, 1919, was ostensibly to subserve the war effort.

In effect Rowlatt Act curbed individual liberties, notably those relating to freedom of assembly and speech. 

  • BOLD DECISIONS : The national emergency 1975-1977, we will recall, got the approval of the Parliament of the day.
  • ALERTNESS : The greatest vigilance and prudence is required of Parliament today.

      IASbhai Windup: 

HUSH OVER INSTITUTIONS

JUDICIARY’s MOVE

  • This is where the third pillar, the judiciary, comes in.
  • VITAL MATTER : Before it such as Article 370 of the Constitution,the habeas corpus petitions of J&K give it the chance to show its autonomous mind, its independence and, in short, to speak up.
  • VIRAL SERENITY : A viral stillness hovers eerily over the institutions of state.

FOURTH PILLAR

  • WE THE PEOPLE : With the Fourth Estate leading we, the people of India, need to become our freedom’s life-support.

“Dissent is a safety-valve of democracy”.- Justice D.Y. Chandrachud

       SOURCES:   THE HINDU EDITORIAL HUNT | The Pandemic and Half-Knowledge | UPSC

 

TRENDING NOW : Important The Hindu Editorials 

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