The Uttar Pradesh hospital tragedy that took away lives of over 60 children reflects the serious lapses in India’s health delivery system. It is much more perplexing that such a woebegone incident occurred despite the Chief Minister visiting the hospital a few days earlier. This only shows utter lack of accountability in the state government system.
Still, the UP Chief Minister, contrary to the evidence on the ground refuses to acknowledge that the incident is the result of short supply of oxygen owing to delayed payments. He even attributed it to the lack of proper sanitary conditions. This only implies that the poster boy of saffron brigade is unconcerned of Modi’s much trumpeted Swachh Bharat campaign.
None would make the Chief Minister personally responsible for the criminal negligence. But, as the head of the administration he and his government cannot absolve themselves from the accountability. The state government has its priorities wrong. The government was focussing more on divisive issues rather than issues of governance.
Yogi Adityanath should at least now realise that the art of political polarisation at which he is adept is not similar to the art of governing the most populous state of India. As he represented Gorakhpur in Parliament, Adityanath cannot escape from the failure.
Sections of media sympathetic to him and the BJP spokespersons are trying to shift the blame on to the earlier governments in the state. This goes against the basic tenets of democratic governance. The conditions in the past cannot legitimise the criminal negligence of the present government.
Yogi Adityanath is a spiritual leader. He says politics is not his passion.
But, people of Uttar Pradesh cannot be held for ransom for this. Statecraft should be delinked from religious and spiritual activity. The ruling BJP should either make Adityanath a true leader of the government or should explore alternate leadership to govern the state. The ruling dispensation cannot fritter away the people’s mandate on flimsy controversies that only serve to provoke the people rather than govern them.
The government, media and civil society should also go beyond the incident to probe the deep-rooted malaises of the health system in the country. Health continues to be the non-priority sector in terms of fiscal allocations. The private healthcare industry is booming as the government sector is mired in total neglect. The poor and the under privilegedhave to suffer for these lopsided priorities of the political system.
Corruption, red tape and the bureaucratic rigmarole often make the government systems dysfunctional. Government hospitals are under staffed and always under served. Official apathy continues unabated irrespective of who rule the state.
Nation reacts only when such horrifying incidents occur. A processual approach is needed to prevent such incidents happening. Public health and sanitation should be the top priority. India even after 70 years of freedom cannot still wait for freedom from illiteracy, poverty, disease, ill health and insanitation.