The Hindu Newspaper Analysis – 04 February 2021

Vaccine Diplomacy

vaccine nationalism
  • As we started to battle the pandemic, a vaccine battle started where the bigger countries like USA, Russia and UK started to manufacture their own vaccines with best efficiency. These countries did not speak about vaccine as a public good or global cooperation but as competition.
  • Here is when countries like India and China came in and started to speak about providing vaccine to their friends, allies and neighbors. India started to export the vaccines to other nations like African nations, Brazil and others. India adopted the grant approach as provided vaccines free of cost to the nations.
  • India has received appreciation from all over the world for their empathetic nature also taking a lead in the global pharmacy as well.
  • India has moved well to accomplish the SDG 3 but it still has a long way to go in this regard.
  • Apart from this we can also understand as to how over 71 million have been pushed into poverty which we should also speak about this in the later stages.
  • We have to know about the COVAX program where high- and middle-income countries of the world are coming together to bring a vaccine which will well be cooperated and distributed among the members. USA has also joined the initiative.
  • This initiative will take into consideration aspects like efficacy and the cost of the vaccine as well.
  • All in all, what we can see is that India here, is leading by example.

Sustainable Growth

  • The incoming of the COVID 19 pandemic has not just affected from one side of health but also from economic and ecological point of view.
  • We have suffered immense losses globally and the global GDP has shrunk from 2.4% to 8% and the cost borne by the nations to fight the pandemic has ranged from 8$ trillion to 15$ trillion.
  • We need to note here that there was not economic loss but also environment has seemed to have affected rampantly. India is one of the highly vulnerable countries to be affected due to environmental issues and natural losses, also it is highly vulnerable to catastrophes.
  • There is a good relation between human density, biodiversity, and the emergence of zoonotic disease and India is a hotspot for the same.
  • The Global Risks Report by the World Economic Forum has provided that environmental risks threat the global economy which include:
    • Weather extremities
    • Climate action failure
    • Environmental damage
    • Infectious diseases
    • Biodiversity losses among others
  • The infectious diseases have topped this list and India is heavily vulnerable to it.
  • We need to change the models of over development and have check on the unchecked activities like:
    • Loss of natural habitat
    • Mining
    • Infrastructure development at the cost of development
    • Intensive agriculture
    • Intensive animal husbandry
    • Human animal conflict among others
  • The Swiss Re Institute has provided in a report titled, ‘new biodiversity and ecosystem services’ that 20% of the nations in the world have a fragile ecosystem and 55% global GDP depend on ecology and biodiversity.
  • We need to have proper decision making in this regard move to a non-fossil fuel-based economy.
  • We need to avoid rapid degradation of nature due to our activities; we need to have proper checks in this regard.
  • We need to aim at having an environment that is sustainable, equitable and useful as well.
  • Hence, we need to plan our economic activities and development in the right way so that we are also giving place to the nature.

Better Urbanization

  • This article in the backdrop of how the budget which has given good priority to the urbanization aspect with the proper development of busses and metro train for commutation.
  • We need to have comfortable, safe, affordable communication for the people as we not just focusing on economics but also the healthcare aspect.
  • People are moving slowly towards public transport and greener and cleaner transport.
  • The allocations made to the metro trains is good but the scenario with the buses is quite debatable as the Govt has spoken about the privatization of the bus fleets.
  • In India, the ratio is 1.2/1000 population and in nations like Thailand and South Africa, it is at 8.6 and 6.5 respectively.
  • Here, we need to better the infrastructure in this regard but if the private players are allowed, they will monopolize the scenario.
  • The urban development is not just related to travel but beyond that where even the states have to play a crucial role with umbrella regulatory systems and NCMC like schemes have to be introduced.
  • The current one tries to favor the rich with huge costs which poor people will not be able to afford the same and they would rather prefer private vehicles.
  • Lack of infrastructure, finances among others have to prioritize in this regard and better services like housing, rent, civic services, and health have to be prioritized.
  • All in all, we need to provide cities that are safe, sustainable, green, and walkable; we need to aim at integrated urbanization.
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      Dr. RS Aggarwal
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