COVID-19 pandemic and India


Prime Minister Modi

By Pramod Mathur
India <Spotfilm> CEO, AJA Senior member

NEW DELHI: An Extraordinary Virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit was convened on March 26, 2020. The aim was to discuss challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and forge a coordinated global response. Earlier, Prime Minister Modi had a telephonic conversation with the Chair, The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia on this subject.

The extraordinary G20 Summit was a culmination of the Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting and G20 Sherpas Meeting on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday urged the G-20 group of developed and developing countries to rework the definition of globalization. He emphasised to focus on the collective interests of all people rather than balance the competing individual interests of a few.

The recommendations made by Modi included “putting the human being rather than economic targets at the centre of our visions of global prosperity and cooperation”.

At the meeting, G20 Leaders agreed to take all necessary measures to contain the pandemic and protect people. They also supported strengthening of the WHO’s mandate in the fight against pandemics, including medical delivery systems.

Leaders also committed to use all available policy tools to minimize the economic and social cost of the pandemic. With a pledge to restore global growth, market stability and strengthening resilience. Towards this, G20 countries will inject over 5 trillion USD into the global economy. Leaders also agreed to contribute to the WHO led COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund on a voluntary basis.

As I write this piece, in India, total Coronavirus COVID-19 active cases have crossed the 640-mark and the death toll is at 17 on Friday, March 23. In Delhi, 800 people have been quarantined due to one case alone.

With an aim to help mitigate the needs of poor people, the central government has announced Rs 1.70 lakh crore financial package. The maximum number of coronavirus positive cases have been reported from Kerala and Maharashtra. Delhi, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh have over 30 cases.

Compared to the global figures, these statistics are considered negligible in view of the density and size of population in India.

The responsibilities of the heads of state across the world have mounted. Most world leaders are struggling to find ways to stop the spread by advising people to keep indoors and maintain a safe distance from others. The medical facilities are stretched to the limits.

Prime Minister of India has already addressed the nation twice in two weeks. India has been put under complete lockdown for 21 days to limit and control community spread. The Modi government has also allayed fears saying that there was no “hard evidence” to state that stage-3 of Coronavirus has begun in India yet.

Coming to think of this whole Corona pandemic across almost all societies and cultures, I think, it is hitting at the very roots of consumerism, materialism and capitalism.

However much disposable income we may have, whichever expensive apartment or car we may possess, it is all redundant for the moment. Corona Virus pandemic has become an equaliser of all humans across the world.

The pandemic is forcing humans to closely and quietly glance at the relationships that one took for granted…children, parents, grandparents, spouses and dear friends & relatives.

It is forcing humans to revert to a normal family life…be loving, compassionate and caring. Shun hatred, deceit, envy and jealousy.

For a long time, this is the lesson we humans needed to learn… to be by ourselves.

Let us step back, contemplate and learn what TIME is trying to teach us. Slow Down and get over with the Busy-ness.

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