Statement of New Socialist Initiative (NSI) on India’s ‘war against Covid 19’
Today, India has emerged as a new epicentre for the novel corona virus in the Asia Pacific region.With 1,58,333 confirmed cases of Covid 19 and deaths of total of 4,531 people after contracting the virus, it has already crossed China’s Covid-19 numbers.
New Socialist Initiative (NSI) feels that the grim news of steadily rising infections and fatalities reveal before everyone a worrying pattern but the government either seems to be oblivious of the situation or has decided to shut its eyes. It is becoming increasingly clear that the Union government has used incomplete national-level data to justify arbitrary policy decisions, defend its record and underplay the extent of Covid-19 crisis.
Absence of transparency vis-a-vis data collection of Covid infection levels could be said to be the tip of the iceberg of what has gone wrong with India’s ‘war against Covid 19’.
The Prime Minister’s announcement of a 21-day countrywide lock down came with a mere four-hour notice. It was done without engaging in any collective decision-making process with states to honour and enhance the spirit of “cooperative federalism” between the Centre and the States. Continue reading Crisis for the People, Opportunity for the Corporate-Government Nexus : NSI
THIS IS THE SECOND PART OF A THREE PART POST, THE FIRST PART OF WHICH CAN BE READ HERE.
Forced labour and data capitalism are the low end and high end of Coronacapitalism. Let us examine each of these.
The gut-wrenching picture of migrant workers who managed to reach Bareilly, being sprayed with disinfectant by people protected by hazmat suits themselves, provoked such widespread outrage in India and negative publicity in the foreign media, that the Health Ministry issued a hasty statement that this should not be done.
Spraying of chlorine on individuals can lead to irritation of eyes and skin and potentially gastrointestinal effects such as nausea and vomiting. Inhalation of sodium hypochlorite can lead to irritation of mucous membranes to the nose, throat, respiratory tract and may also cause bronchospasm, the advisory said.
Workers at Bareilly bus terminus being sprayed with chemicals
But this brutality and callousness towards workers and the poor emanates from the very top of this regime – the signal is sent from there, as to who matters and who doesn’t. The difference in treatment is stark and unapologetic. For example, during the lock-down, on April 18th, even as thousands of workers walked long distances home because no transport was arranged for them, precisely in order to prevent them from leaving the states in which they were stranded, the Uttar Pradesh government organized 250 buses to bring back students from the state studying in Kota, Rajasthan. As of April 24th, special flights and hospital beds are being prepared by the government to bring back Indians stranded abroad. Continue reading Part II – The Virus, the Muslim and the Migrant: Forced labour and data capitalism