Covid-19: 'Dharma Sankat' for government on blockade, says Gurcharan Das

NEW DELHI: Eminent panelists at Bennett University's global online conference on: Fallout&future,heldonthursday,unanimouslysaidthereisapartialneedtosavetheindianeconomyanditspeople,giventheinformationcurrentlyavailableonthenumberofcases,mortalityrate,andseriousimplicationsofaprolongedblock.

indiahasimposedtheworld'sstrictestblockadeinresponsetothecovid-19pandemic.toshedsomelightontheenigmathatthegovernmentcurrentlyfacesregardingtheexitfromtherunningofthebulls,authorandcommentator,hereferredtothemahabharata.



“ifyousave100livesfromillnessbutlose200livesfromunemployment,thenyoumustchoosewhereyoulosefewerlives.butwhenithoughtaboutthispersonally,whatwouldichooseifiwouldletmyownsondiefromcovid-19,thenmymoralintuitionwasclear.iwouldchoosetosaveapresentliferatherthanworryaboutfuturelives,”saiddas.

vidurainmahabharatawhowasaroyalcounselorsaidhewouldhavemadetheoppositedecision.hesaidiwouldsacrificeapersontosaveavillage.it’sa“dharmasankat”.bothwaysyoulose,”iadded.

duringthisconfinement,apoormigrantfrombiharsaidthatifthecrowndoesnotkillme,hungerwill,dassaid,adding:whoshouldliveandwhoshoulddieisthequestionfacingthemodigovernment.

multipleblockadeswillbringabrutalrecession,aquarterofabillionwageearnerswillstarveandthepandemiccouldpushindiabackfordecades,daswarned.

whenithoughtaboutthisdilemma,ialsowonderedifitwasworthsavinglivesiftheresultwasaworldfulloflivesthatwasnotworthliving,dassaid.thecureisworsethanthediseaseisthedilemma.

thegovernmentshouldgotoapartialandselectiveclosure.wehavetestedsofewpeoplethatwedon'tknowhowbadthesituationis,dassaid.butwithrigoroustestingwewillhavedataintwoweeks.butwiththecurrentdata,weshouldmakeacautiousbetandmovetowardsapartialclosure.”

itwouldcontinuetheindia-widebanonolderpeopleandwouldnotallowmorethanfivepeopletogatheranywhere,headded.

“aboutasixthoftheeconomy,whichisadigitaleconomy,isalsoworking.but50-55%oftheeconomyisclosed.thisgivesmeanassessmentthataround6%ofgdplosswilltakeplacewithinamonth,saidformerfinancesecretarysubhashchandragarg.

thisviruswillnotgoaway.anyassumptionthatthelockwillremovethevirusisnotcorrect.wecanreducetheimpactofthevirusandisolateaffectedpeopleandkeepthemawayfromunaffectedpeople.somenationshaveshownthatthiscanbedone,”headded.

arvindvirmani,formerchiefeconomicadvisertothegovernmentofindia,proposedthecautiousopeningofsomeindustries.iftheblockaderunsuntiltheendofmay,itcouldcostthecountryaround9%ofgdp,hesaid.

urbanworkersstayinconfinedspaceswhereinfectionsaremuchmorelikelytospreadandcouldbeworsethangoingtowork,hesaid.“extensivetestingofsuchahugepopulationisimpossibleinindia.internationaltravelshouldbeprohibiteduntiljuneandthereshouldbesomerestrictionsondomestictravel.

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