at the time of writing this, a few more than 27,000 samples have been tested in india, a country of more than 1.3 billion. of these, more than 800 have returned as positive for coronavirus. but this may not be the only concern. we are short on testing kits and test centres and the government’s and other authorities’ response to the crisis is worrisome. let’s start with the announcement that the prime minister will address the nation at 8pm on 19 March, 2020. this announcement came in advance and gave enough fodder to rumour mills. the pm has a history of causing panic at 8, one can recall the demonetization episode. an advance announcement of pm address triggered panic buying and people stockpiled. in fact, the pm and his team of advisors failed to realise this would happen. then came the declaration of a ‘janta curfew’ on sunday. will this be a curfew, a lockdown or something else, nobody knew.
health concerns entail costs that are unforeseen and many a time colossal. while the government has enabled citizens, poor and middle-class, to build a house for themselves under pradhan mantri awas yojana by providing credit-linked subsidy, the sensitive area of health has skipped the attention. the present schemes run for enabling access to health-related services – pradhan mantri swasthya suraksha yojana (with two components, one building new aiims and other as upgrading government medical colleges) and rashtriya swasthya bima yojana (insurance cover of inr 30000 p.a. for bpl families) – do not cater pragmatically to needs. construction of new all-india institute of medical sciences can augment research and teaching of medicine and can eventually hike number of medical practitioners, the same cannot substantially bring down costs involved in treatment of diseases. rsby too doesn’t go beyond basic health facilities for the burden of diseases in india is cumbersome. contemplating a health scheme, which can be termed ‘pradhan mantri swasthya yojana’,
to summarise, a nobel laureate from india has lately launched a campaign titled ‘100millionfor100million’, targeted at holistic development of unprivileged children around the world. an initiative for good, this mandates our support in not one but many ways, for the betterment of these children is an investment for future, we may produce leaders and job-givers, or can produce a vulnerable, hopeless generation, what do you prefer? it is a blessing that this initiative has emanated from indian soil, with blessings from the head of state, president of indian republic. but will that be all? will it just remain moderately covered by press without any further action? will it yet again prove that we are best at rhetoric, lethargic in implementing a plan? as a youth, you comprise the group of 100 million which has been called upon to pave the way for betterment of 100 million children who aren’t blessed in the same manner as you are. the initial step