The Hindu Newspaper Analysis – 23-10-2020

Reforming the healthcare system

  • This editorial is in the backdrop of the Parliamentary panel’s decision to form a new health law or a comprehensive public health act which will help us fix the fragmented health care system of the country.
  • In the time of the pandemic, the lacunas in the Indian healthcare system were exposed and ground realities were bough to light; the National Health Profile of 2019 pointed out that there are only 0.55 Govt hospital beds per 1000 patients and very a smaller number of doctors and even nurses. There is also under-investment in the health care set up where we only spend 1.1% of our GDP on health.
  • There is over reliance on the private health care system that is very weakly regulated and this scenario worsens in the rural areas.
  • So, this new law will try to set things in place by curbing profiteering, having a robust healthcare system by fixing the structural asymmetry with policies and guidelines.
  • It must be noted that India has also committed to the Sustainable Development Goals and Right to health has to be considered as a key aspect of the same.
  • Several observations have been made in this regard where the insurance coverage has not been applied to all people and there are several disadvantaged people who remain out of this, also, several patients have been turned away during the times of a crisis like the pandemic. 
  • Through this reform the Govt. should start playing a proactive role in all aspects including drugs, vaccines among others. Also, this legal reform would be time bound transition and will aim to universalize the healthcare system in the country, it will also take off the pressure of too much reliance on private sector. This will all be possible if the Govt starts to spend more on the healthcare sector.

Political accountability in a democracy

  • The author takes quite a nuanced view the role of the significant world leaders during the COVID 19 pandemic. He quotes examples of several nations like the USA, UK, Brazil, India and Russia who are the developed and developing ones in line and who’s lacunas were exposed during the same.
  • The leaders couldn’t perform really well in the controlling the spread of the pandemic and driving the nation towards progress:
    • USA, under Trump went to a very bad state and was one of the worst performing nations in this regard.
    • UK is still reeling under pressure under the leadership of Boris Johnson.
    • Jair Bosalanaro did not take into the use and importance of a lockdown and opened it up, exposing people to the pandemic.
    • Russia under Putin was more concerned about the development of a vaccine than a public health scenario.
    • India under the leadership of Modi saw an unprecedented lockdown that affected the lives of a million migrants in the nation.
  • Apart from this we saw that the countries under their leaders were not ready for such a health emergency and suffered immense losses as their lows in poverty, class disparity and health were exposed.
  • This brings us to the point about how accountable are these leaders in a democracy and what is the situation of accountability today?
  • We understand that we choose our leaders in a democracy through the process of voting and today our votes are not considering the performance of the leaders but its about considering the personality and if the ideology matches or the opponents are better and so on.
  • This brings us to understand the fact we need to put forth our vote in the right to get the right result out of the democracy and the political accountability doesn’t just exist but is also respected.

Building back better

  • December 12 marked the five years of the signing of the Paris Agreement and as apart of this the countries around the world attended the Climate Ambition Summit in 2020 and pledged for stronger action in this regard.
  • The big challenge we face today is the pandemic and the good fact about this is that it has provided us space and leeway to refurbish our growth to aim at green growth and green recovery.
  • The cooperation of the European Union and India in this regard is commendable and the European Union is going ahead in a great way with the 2019 European Green Deal that aimed to achieve climate neutrality by 2030. For this there was shared cooperation and good allocation in terms of budget.
  • India has also done good progress with coming together of the
    • International Solar Alliance
    • Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure
    • Leadership grouping for Industry Transformation among others
  • India will also participate in the COP 26 going to be held in Glasgow, UK and the COP 15 for Biodiversity at Kunming.
  • Here what India needs is a shared cooperation, team work and more funding to fight with this issue of climate change. India should aim at ‘Building back better’.
  • India should have inclusive growth and development with all people participating and mobilizing the segments of population like scientists, policy makers, bureaucrats, civil society organizations, among others so that the aim can be achieved.
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    Dr. RS Aggarwal
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