Country saw `fundamental breakdown` in government machinery during COVID-19 crisis: Shashi Tharoor


New Delhi: Alleging “utter mismanagement” in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Sunday said the country witnessed “fundamental breakdown” in government machinery in the past few months, instead of mature and proactive governance.

Participating in a discussion in Lok Sabha on the pandemic, he said that instead of clearly communicated protocol and comprehensive strategies on part of the government, the country witnessed lack of clarity, readiness and preparedness to combat the virus.

He also alleged that had the government listened to warning about the virus made by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and others, the situation surely would have been managed better.

The ruling dispensation, he said, continued to delay the implementation of a national strategy to stop the spread of the virus.

“This was the first failure of the government,” he said.

The failure to adequately recognise the scale and complexity of the problem the nation was dealing with, compounded their unwillingness to listen to the voices that warned well in advance of the consequences of ignoring the problem of such magnitude, he said.

When the number of cases were comparatively low in India there was still time for the government to execute comprehensive strategy to curb the virus, he said.

The advance warning would have given time to those overseas to come back to India and also would have given sufficient time to migrant workers to return to their home states.

“It is moral responsibility of any government to take the nation into confidence and not leave them in dark,” he said.

“Yesterday…India recorded a fresh set of 93,337 cases compared to 42,000 in USA and tragically additional death of 2,247 compared to 800 something in USA effectively making us the country with the highest number of daily cases and deaths globally,” he said.

He also said due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown which had to be imposed, the country’s economy is in a bad shape now and added that the arrangements were not made to fight with the virus.

If the migrant workers were allowed to go to their home towns in the beginning the current situation would have not arisen.

He also that there was minimal effort by the government to reach out to the stakeholders to curb the spread of the virus.

The government should have taken the nation into confidence which it did not do as a result the nation “is losing confidence in you (government)”.

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said COVID-19 is the biggest challenge for the humanity and the discussion on the issue should be positive and creative.

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