Governance, state, citizen...

Governance, state, citizen...

Covid-19 provides the rational minded people to think seriously on the governances of citizens in a democratic state system. Undoubtedly, Covid is a national and global crisis

Covid-19 provides the rational minded people to think seriously on the governances of citizens in a democratic state system. Undoubtedly, Covid is a national and global crisis.

World wars and disasters so far occurred should have provided at least some better insights. The significant difference in this calamity is 'stand-alone' approach by all.

We all function, behave, conduct our routine affairs in a most difficult environment- locked up, masks, smiles are not visible even if we do, be safe from 'each one' is the mantra of the social being in these days.

All of us function behind veil and screen- be it government, intellectuals, professionals, business class and ordinary worker and household people.

It is a war against invisible virus which spares no one across globe forcing 'each one for them'. As usual the common citizen at the receiving end and bears the brunt of all.

The unplanned lockdown destroyed the farms, crops and farmers, labourers and very survival. While wealthy and middle calls huddled into safety and hoarding the best, the common citizens were left to hide in the shades of poverty and survival instinct.

The urban eateries, vegetable vendors, bakeries didn't even have time to clear and left things to rot. The rule of law is more used to rule than governance.

Episodes both in classic epics amply provide the basic virtue in governance of a state is 'compassion'. The soul and meaning of compassion is totally absent or an irksome interference in restoring the health for all of us.

Most of the elected Chief Ministers are behaving as though they are the warriors of Corona by simply issuing circulars, revised circulars, modified circulars and guidelines which is often misguiding than guiding.

The last rung in the governance personnel always confused and clueless as to what they are expected to do. They left with no choice and resorted to one commonly used method-control the masses, book cases and punish them.

The number of FIRs filed in the context of Covid across states may require a new justice system to handle. What is missing is a perceivable and visible accountability of their actions.

Regular scheduled assuaged messages from Executives would have given some relief to the pains of the people. But they chose to hop- hop between Central guidelines and local realities.

One migrant worker chose to walk miles to reach home echoed with one undying ring tone; 'Enough with the government'. Published in a newspaper on May 8. I wonder any one can really even digest this statement which is wrapped in anguish, shame and helplessness.

Each state functions as de facto rulers- no one should enter or exit-reasons are beyond any logical reasoning. Villagers are locked themselves even from their own kith and kin entering. Pains and pangs of social being are left to mercy of the State.

The unpreparedness or deficit preparedness of the States even after forty-five days are covered up with paper circulars. Creating a safe passage for people and products to transit are not in the dictionary of the state and governance.

Many villagers across, during tele- interviews, made these statements. 'We are afraid to see TV and we are all scared to see the diseases. We are afraid to see messages in the social media'.

The cure is worse than the disease. The bottom line is they believe in anything other than truth. Today every other citizen has medicine for COVID and astrologers have field day.

This is not the time to speak on the careless attitudes of State towards Public Health care systems and public distribution system for long. Both are underequipped to give average result even in the normal circumstance but today they are put to frontiers without any addition and deletion of systems and manpower.

We can be rest assured things will be forgotten, sooner or later on these two systems which care for 'life' and 'livelihoods' of millions of common people today.

Once again, the Police as a force are frontline warriors and bear the brunt. Their own life is in disarray, this situation demands both empathy and compassion. Neither they are not trained for this nor time to explain to common citizen.

They have adopted different methods to maintain 'social distance' and unwarranted mobility of people. The population of this country so huge and diverse which can make them 'tired' sooner than later.

The long-forgotten police reforms and policing with humane attitudes would have produced better results. Their often-muted response to transiting migrants or aggressive actions exhibits as if they function with one hand tied to their back.

Today we all of us walk around forfeiting our rights, responsibilities and accountabilities. Even charity is at the receiving end. This situation demands very safe methods both to mobilise funds, goods and delivery of the same to needy.

Police passes, inadequate preparedness of PPE, mask and hand gloves make things worse for persons including NGOs and civil society groups.

Too many APPS are flooding the people on the virus and people's entitlements. More Apps, more confusion than help. There is no system or platform at local level to explain.

The human has innate abilities to overcome hurdles and create new methods to reach out to the have-nots. The space is not there to exhibit or receives even such ideas.

While any medical advancement, technology to handle this pandemic is visible and encouraging the right interface is missing to get the best. Multiple agencies, may be not efficiently equipped at this point, are prescribing SOPs.

Some judiciaries are delivering most opt judgments for the day. But judiciary as a whole appears to be at loss as to how to frame its directions that give clearer pathway for actions than mere judgments that lacks proper clarity and accountability in this totally a different environment.

The need of the hour is enlightened judgments to give proper pathway to executives and also addresses the 'anguishes' of the litigants.

Time to think the function and role of state and governance for the citizens, in whose name all actions are carried out and that person seems not in the centre.

(The author is Professor of Social Work, (Retired), Bangalore University)

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