So, Rahul Gandhi in his constant efforts to find fault with India’s fight against Covid-19, broadly came up with the following reservations in his recent press interaction on May 8, 2020. Decentralization of power in the fight against Corona is the new pitch of Rahul Gandhi.
- In the fight against Covid-19, the power should not be concentrated in the hands of Prime Minister. India should rather have Chief Ministers leading the battle in their respective states.
- What happens after the third phase of lockdown is not clear. As per Rahul Gandhi, there is a lack of strategy towards the exit which brings economic catastrophe.
The answer to both the points raised are inter-connected, and Rahul Gandhi either perhaps can’t see them or refuses to acknowledge them. Not just India, but the world knows that, at this stage, that there is no other way but to live with the virus with the help of containment strategies while ensuring the best possible way for the economy to function.
While the industries are opening up with precautions in this third stage, India has already entered and ‘exit strategy’ and importantly, many Chief Ministers are playing a pivotal role in shaping a new order in the light of new realities. Rahul Gandhi perhaps needs to have a conversation with those Chief Ministers who think that their only strategy to cope with Corona is to blame the Centre and others for everything.
Here is how some States are setting an example in evolving a new order in times of Corona. Rahul Gandhi may take the lessons of ‘empowerment’, ‘decentralization’, and ‘fighting at the local level’ among other things from these instances and advise the same for Congress-ruled states.
- Madhya Pradesh announced a slew of reforms in labour laws to give employers more freedom to operate. These include changing contract labour conditions, allowing third party inspections, allowing workers to work up to 72 hours a week if they are willing and are paid overtime, and introducing compounding provisions to reduce industrial disputes.
- In order to revive the State’s economy by creating favourable atmosphere for industrialists to set up their business and provide livelihood for a large labour force, UP government also suspended labour laws for three years except those laws that promise timely payment, safety & health, protection against bonded labour etc. In our earlier article we have greatly dealt with how Yogi Adityanath government initiated set of measures that attempt to provide employment for all the labourers within the home state.
- In another move benefitting the farming community, UP government brought an ordinance de-listing 46 fruits and vegetables from the provisions of the APMC. Farmers will now be free to sell these 46 commodities directly to food processing units and consumers at the farm itself and also sell their produce through the digital platform e-NAM and need not pay any tax.
- Gujarat also announced that it will not burden new industrial units with the web of labour laws, except three basic acts, for 1,200 days. The approval process for establishing new industries to become completely online and they will be allocated land within seven days and all necessary government approval within 15 days.
- We have seen in the instance of Maharashtra government that how it refused to bear even the 15% cost of train journey of the migrants and wrongly blamed the Centre. Contrast this with how Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa is managing the situation. His government announced an economic relief package of ₹1,610 crore for farmers, MSMEs, handloom weavers, autorickshaw drivers and others amid COVID-19 lockdown.
Thus, many chief Ministers and States have indeed played a pivotal role in shaping the nation for the post-lockdown period by working on the ground real time. It seems only Rahul Gandhi has the privilege to dish out advices without making any major constructive efforts on the ground.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi did consult the Chief Ministers while moving into the next phases of lockdown. It should be recalled that when the first phase of the nationwide lockdown was ending on April 14, the Congress-ruled states like Punjab and Maharashtra vehemently argued for its extension.
So, when Rahul Gandhi says that the states are not given a larger role in the fight against Covid-19, he may be trying to hide a lack of strategy on the part of Congress-ruled state governments while blaming it all on the Modi government.
You may also want to read about the other falsehoods that Rahul Gandhi tried to spread during Corona crisis.