Saturday, Jan 15, 2022 08:45 [IST]

Last Update: Saturday, Jan 15, 2022 03:21 [IST]

Omicron Reality, : A Puzzle or Test of Endurance?

Dr.Aaloc Srivastav, Ex-Chief Secretary , Govt.of Sikkim

Corona "Aunty" arrived un- invited in December 2019 in Wuhan but despite umpteen precautions,safety devices , high profile research, individual and group medical mechanisms and WHO inspections, refuses to depart.
 2) Mutations and variants,  together with calamities, namely, untimely Cyclones, floods,land slides and volcanic eruptions in non- vulnerable zones keep striking.
Mind Boggling Spike in Europe & India
3) Fresh ten fold increase in daily cases under two weeks in India,from 22,487 on 31st December 2021 to 2,46,912 on 12th January was not seen  previously in two years of Pandemic.One may not be surprised if the previous daily hike of 414,431 cases on 6th May,2021 goes upto a staggering Eight to Ten lakhs soon , in line with Omicron waves seen across Europe and USA, as per some recent projections.
 4) The interim view of Delhi Government that some of the restrictions  may have to be lifted in the event of hospitalizations stabilizing, may not hold good as the capital city still leads with 27,561  daily cases and a high Positivity Rate of 26.22% when Maharastra in general and Mumbai in particular are showing somewhat declining trend .
If number of people resorting to tests by special kits at home and actual record of daily cases in West Bengal,Karnataka, Kerala,Bihar and Jharkhand is also taken into account, it may NOT be a Safe situation.
Not a New Development
5) A virus spread of gigantic proportions is not something new. We had  a more devastating Spanish Flu soon after First World War (when medical aid was inadequate & policy makers were groping in dark ),SARS-I (led to a Vaccine), MERSE etc. But the period or extent of the ongoing catastrophe may be longer and tougher despite widespread awareness & mayhem and resultant intervention of  almost a dozen drug manufacturers,
not MERE from prevention and life saving point of view but out of sheer business considerations.
Need For a Fair Play
6) It may sound inhuman if Not absurd.But it is happening Day in and Day out.
The UNO, as if it was fair ever, vis a vis poor & weak nations,  appears somewhat  immune, if Not shirking its onerous responsibility towards world order and peace.
 G-20 too, open to initial interest in an earmarked fund to take care of the plight of Africans ,appear to have backed out.
Inclination of Govt.of India too, looks diminishing in the light of criticism at home.
Ineffective OR Helpless W.H.O. ?
7) W.H.O, has been seen  faltering right from the days of Wuhan to Delta to Latin American variant  to Omicron Virus era, now. To make matters worse, President Trump was always in attacking mode, if not causing embarrassment at the slightest pretext.
 A time came when a sizeable US Aid was also struck down.
But looking at the  developments in last few weeks and rapid strides  recorded in terms of positivity if not spike in hospitalizations and casualties, hardly any improvement has taken place in Equitable distribution of first dose of vaccines , leave aside a shred of thinking about a discounted price( may be,slightly above actual cost)
8) It is also coming to the fore that majority of the positive cases donot have any history of vaccine.
Is it the time to ignore millions of suffering people of Africa or the economies run by a  military Junta ? Is this the time to bother for profit or adopt ways and means to bring about superficial improvement in Balance of Trade or Payment or in boosting sensex, when two crucial and formidable years of growing children has been sacrificed already and Retail inflation in India has accelerated to 5.59 % and unemployment rate has risen from 4.17 % in 2017-18 to 6.3% in 2018-19 to a peak of 9.1% in Dec.2020( a marginal improvement to 7.9% in December 2021 to be also noted).
Postponement of Polls, A Wayout ?
9 ) We mostly beat around the bush in favour of elections which add to the crisis Apart from weakening further our Psychology or Cognitive power. Does common electorate ever get any benefit from the outcome of an election verdict ?
Both production and productivity appear at a severe loss, in a situation when fecundity & fertility do not seem to be abating.
Talking of demography, no one even thinks about a body to closely examine severe impact of population growth.
On the eve of polls to five states in 2021 and this time as well when another five are poll bound, actual figures are found hidden OR mis- reported. Rather, lakhs and lakhs of new voters are found added to updated electoral Roll. However, scant attention is given to the limited and insufficient capacity and constrained position of resource mobilization.
 Population Growth Deserves Attention
10) After 1991, we have not thought of reviving a National Population Commission or a body with meaningful representation from a cross section of economic and social strata.We do have a defunct Population Stabilisation Fund in the Health Ministry but instead of using it, priorities are generally directed at dismantling what has been inherited and trying to create something" new and futuristic" for the LONG RUN.
According to a famous Classical Economist , on the contrary, in the long run , We Are All Dead. Or shall we dare to say, we will be destined to die ?
11) When mountains get  fabricated out of molehills ,we should spare a thought about our selfish orientations, falling values, standards  and culture and above all,a lack of  National Character, found abundantly in countries, such as, Japan.
To Sum Up,
12) One has to withdraw the Elusive Mouse by hoping against the hope. Let us pray that Be it Corona or Omicron, Better Sense must prevail over the delinquent & defiant elements.
A semblance of fair play should be also visible, if Not Ensured, on the part of  administrators, regulators, co-ordinators or non governmental organizations.
No nation is built or change in any system takes place in a day or two. It is a gradual, time taking process. An advantage of comfortable
majority should not , rather must not raise one's aspiration level To Ignore or Undermine the Bare Needs or the Desire of the Majority.
13) Blunders ,if any, of the past, shall have to be identified carefully  and responsibility to be fixed as per procedure, prior to laying the foundation for a New Secular Order.

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi