Letters

Letters to the Editor — April 20, 2020

Second class netizens

August 5, 2019 will be noted as a landmark day in the annals of Jammu and Kashmir as well as the rest of India. It was on this day a promise was made in Parliament that the people of J&K were about to notice a positive change in their lives hereafter. Months have elapsed since then but there are no signs of this promise. The immediate fallout, in the form of snapping connectivity, has hurt citizens here. There has been a rise in Net shutdowns, varying in duration and extent. While the judiciary has highlighted how the authorities could apply the doctrine of proportionality before passing any order intended to restrict fundamental rights of individuals, the acts of the administration of the Union Territories of J&K circumvent this doctrine even in times of a life-threatening pandemic. The outbreak of COVID-19 has brought along several challenges which demand the better use of technology, which can only be facilitated by faster 4G service in comparison to slower 2G. Doctors in J&K are faced with the issue of treating patients remotely to reduce the pressure on hospitals and to minimise the risk of hospitals turning into hotspots. Doctors also raise another crucial point — that disseminating safety precautions especially to those living in far-flung areas and who do not read or write, has become very difficult with mobile speed restrictions. Video is the easiest and most crucial ally in fighting a pandemic. Also, since research and awareness about COVID-19 is still in its infancy, a lot of new information is constantly emerging on all aspects of medicine. Webinars and conferences play a key role.

Basit Amin Makhdoomi,

Srinagar

 

Social democracy pays

Ultimately in a crisis, a State which followed social rights and public trust could flatten the COVID-19 curve with grit and determination (Editorial page, “A virus, social democracy, and dividends for Kerala”, April 18). In this context, last mile connectivity with rural areas scores, examples being projects such as Kudumbasree community kitchens. As one associated with a rural livelihood project, namely Vaazhndhu kaattuvom, renamed Pudhu Vaazhvu, in Tamil Nadu, it is unfortunate that such a crucial link was hastily wound up.

Such projects with livelihood groups strong on various vocational aspects would have helped a great deal. This aspect of strength helps in rapid percolation of crisis mitigation measures to remote places which cannot be easily reached ordinarily.

Dr. V. Purushothaman,

Chennai

This pandemic has taught us so much and we are still learning. We can examine, learn and improve from our response to this crisis. Sectors such as health care, local-level democratic institutions, delivery apparatus to ensure government schemes have last mile coverage, coordination in a federal structure and a balance between lives and livelihoods need in-depth evaluation. All these systems cannot be upgraded overnight to deal with the crisis. Community participation and the strong involvement of local decentralised institutions are the key to making a difference. A State such as Kerala has always outperformed the rest of the country in nearly all social indices. This is a key lesson.

Salman Mahmood,

Noida, Uttar Pradesh

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Printable version | May 26, 2020 3:16:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/letters-to-the-editor-april-20-2020/article31383224.ece

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