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Shekhar Gupta, Editor-in-Chief, The Print
It is a bizarre truth that the finest political gags are found in dictatorships. They often thrive amidst the thrill and whisper of fear. On today's state of India, I remember a story that was discussed in the last days of the Soviet Union.
Lenin, Stalin, Brezhnev and Gorbachev were passing through Siberia in a luxury saloon on the train. The train stops in a secluded place. There is no track ahead. So what should be done now? Lenin says that we should gather some villagers from around and sing 'The International (Left Anthem)' and the villagers will happily lay down the track. Stalin said that this is silly.
Call these people and shoot some, the rest will work, happily or without it. Gorbachev said that I would give my friend Ronald Reagan a call for advice. So far Chup Brezhnev said that Look Salon contains too much vodka. Keep drinking it and think the train is running.
Corona patients are increasing and PM is giving new slogan everyday
Now look at the situation in our country today. The numbers of corona patients and deaths are increasing. All indicators of the economy are continuously falling and the Chinese are Chinese and our Prime Minister is giving slogans one after the other. Hoping that the attention of the people will be lost.
Exploration of a self-reliant India, fisheries revolution, appointment of consultant for a trillion dollar economy in UP, ban on Chinese apps, celebration of growing economy among the lowest number of cases and death claims per million from Kovid, while in reality the opposite is. Where is this different from Brezhnev's advice, in which he is talking about feeling the train moving while not on track?
What happened in the last two years if GDP fell from Corona?
The economy contracted 23.9 per cent in the first quarter of this year. The economist Arvind Panagariya, argues that this sharp decline is associated with most of the Kovid. But two questions arise. What was the GDP growth rate in the two years before the identification of Corona? India has already fallen in four consecutive quarters of growth.
It is a train that was running downhill without power and brakes and now the track has suddenly come to an end (read epidemic). Think what will happen after the virus? We need to remember where we were going before this. The virus has not changed our direction. It has accelerated our decline.
Too much centralization led to failures
There are other issues to deal with this crisis. Too much centralization, loss of confidence in states and remote control of the center led to many failures. The rights and responsibilities given to the states should have been given earlier. There is no justification for keeping the disaster management law in force today.
Due to such rights, institutes like ICMR also give orders to prepare vaccines in a few weeks. It must also be accepted that the Modi government neither instigated nor invited China. China acted because it saw India getting entangled in the Kovid crisis and its economy was weakening at such a time and the world, especially the US, had lost its focus.
I have said earlier that Xi's reaction may be due to a change in the status of Kashmir and a repeat of the claim on Aksai Chin. You can say that it was not to be risked, but it is your perspective.
The government is right in dealing with the Chinese challenge. The army has been given complete strategic independence. Official and political rhetoric is controlled and the wrong response Nehru gave in 1962 under pressure or resentment has been avoided. So what is the complaint about? If India is in this triple crisis, then we have to remember where it started?
Where did the mistake happen?
It will take us back to the economy again and the same old thing will come that till 2017 India's economic growth was very good. Where did the mistake happen? Who held the wheels of the economy or who suddenly uprooted the tracks of the train that was gaining momentum? Here human intervention for these complex situations comes to the fore. Whatever Kovid did after March, but we cannot blame God or China for stagnating in economic growth. There are many thoughtless steps behind this.
When a strong army is challenging with weapons on the border, the first task is to establish peace within the country. In the old days the meeting of the National Integration Council was called. We know that elections in Bihar and West Bengal and by-elections in Madhya Pradesh are close. But, in such times of crisis, the government wants its people and politics united.
A country of diversities the size of India cannot fight a strong enemy with weak social cohesion. I know this is an idealistic thing, but can we leave divisive politics for a few months and pay attention to these difficulties. Its responsibility is entirely on the Prime Minister and his government. (These are the author's own views.)