Sunday, June 13, 2021
 
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PM’s Pep Talk To DMs & MCs - Fine, but maintain the command chain

B L Saraf


In a bid to combat the Corona virus which is mercilessly spreading death and destruction far and wide , governments at the Centre and in States have initiated series of measures . Prime Minister Narrandra Modi is personally supervising the effort. In this connection , on 18th May, he addressed District Magistrates and the Municipal Commissioners across country , in a virtual mode , and announced plans to install oxygen plants in hospitals in every district of the country . Describing these district officers as field commanders in a COVID War he told them that local containment and complete information were weapons against the virus . PM stressed the need to have a focus on rural and inaccessible areas and assured countrymen that vaccine schedule will be given within 15 days . It is good to exhort and encourage the soldiers who are fighting battle on the ground . But a caveat needs to be entered ?

The pandemic has ,undoubtedly, created an alarming situation . People are panic stricken . Young and old , plebs and princes are dying in thousands ; so much so that the dead don’t find space even in burial grounds or the Shamshaan Ghats , for their Final Rest. We have come to a situation where ,even , a customary dignity is denied to a dead . So, it is natural that the PM and others in administration feel seriously concerned . This is the time when everybody must be carried along with and for the people it is in their interest to have faith in the government , without giving up a right to ask questions. There is no wisdom in aggravating the crisis, midstream. It is moment for PM Modi , who still enjoys trust of millions of countrymen , to come forward and seek cooperation of the political class ,across spectrum , engage with them and walk together to combat the deadly virus .

There is no denying that GOI , under the PM , has been doing its job for quite a time now . Nonetheless , seeing the velocity and ferocity with which the virus is devouring people a shift in strategy may be desirable . Some amount of decentralization must be worked out , though retaining command control on vital matters . Transparency in dealing with the situation may be a good disinfectant . True , binary is inbuilt in the Westminster model of democracy which we follow in the country . However, this system does make allowance for a bipartisan approach when a nation is confronted with an unprecedented crisis – as indeed we face today .

One must admit that some amount of laxity had crept in dealing with the virus . That all sections of the society as also the governments are responsible for it stands admitted by none other than the RSS Chief Mohan Baghwat . While speaking in “Positivity Unlimited “ series of lectures he called out negligence by all sections as responsible for the present Medical crisis .He said “ we are facing this situation because whether it was the government ,administration or public ,everyone dropped the guard after the first wave despite indications from the doctors.” Though it was visible that something has been missing in fighting the demon now we have confirmation of sorts ,albeit in a veiled way, from another important functionary of the ruling BJP - Ram Madhav . Writing in a national daily he says “ A little more transparency ,a little more engagement with the public by political leadership and a little more openness to constructive criticism and enlightened expert opinion from outside the government would further help government’s efforts .” Indeed , a good advice to follow.

Occasionally , it is good for a Commander –in Chief to talk to the soldiers safe guarding frontiers . Such direct talk can instill hope and courage among them . But , in all circumstances , a respect has to be maintained for the Chain of Command . Giving a good bye to such a chain will breed indiscipline among the ranks , as they will care less to listen the local CO or any immediate officer in the command . The words of the PM spoken directly to the district officers may have been a exhortation and matter of encouragement for them to gird lions to fight the COVID menace ,with renewed vigor .But by-passing duly elected state governments and talking to these officers over the head of state bosses is fraught with a countervailing effect . It will discourage local commanders and render them helpless.

Prashant Kishor model of directly taking to party men , by - passing local satraps , may win an election but , in the long run , it will have a debilitating effect on the party system –so needed for the health of democracy . The “ system ‘ -whether of governance or of a political party - must be protected.

India is a very complex country with immense diversity , very difficult to govern. Fortunately for us , the democracy , sanctioned by the Constitution , has proved a very effective tool to forge independent institutions which have helped the country to sail through the rough weather , many a time . We will overcome the crisis this time ,also .But then all embracing attitude has to be adopted . It is good to have a strong willed leader at the top but he can’t be a panacea for all ills nation is afflicted with at the time . Decentralized action may do a world of good . A well known analyst has rather uncharitably put it “ A country of India’s complexity with myriad moving parts cannot dance to one Piper’s tune , no matter how alluring this may seem for some time.”

P S The sight of dead bodies floating in rivers , denuded of the dignity , brings Ghalib to the mind , who long ago lamented :

Hue mar ke hum joe ruswa hue kyon na gharq-e darya

Na kahin janaza uthta na khin mazar hota




(The author is a Former Principal District & Sessions Judge)



(Disclaimer: The views, observations and opinions expressed in above write up of Scoop News are strictly author's own. Scoop News does not take any onus or liability for the veracity, accuracy, validity, completeness, suitability of any of information in the above given write up. The information, facts or figures appearing in the write up in no way manifest the position, standpoint or stance of Scoop News and the Scoop News does not assume any encumbrance or answerability of the same. All disputes are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of competent Courts and Forums in Jammu City Only)



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