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COVID-19: IAS officers want extension of lockdown

April 05, 2020 13:28 IST

410 civil servants in a feedback survey to the Prime Minister’s Office said that the curfew should stay till the pandemic is controlled and asked to increase fiscal spending on health infrastructure to around Rs 5-10 trillion, reports Ruchika Chitravanshi.

IMAGE: Graffiti on coronavirus is seen on a street during a nationwide lockdown in the wake of coronavirus pandemic, in Nadia district of West Bengal. Photograph: PTI Photo

The government needs to increase fiscal spending on health infrastructure to around Rs 5-10 trillion and ensure supply of essential commodities to the poor and vulnerable groups, a group of senior IAS officers and district collectors has said in a feedback survey to the Prime Minister’s Office.

The department of administrative reforms and public grievances conducted a survey of 410 civil servants to develop a comparative analysis of Covid-19 preparedness across states, identify the way forward and address vulnerabilities in the system.


The officials also suggested, among contingency measures, extension of the lockdown period, if necessary. “The 21-day lockdown is to be used to identify more positive cases and quarantine all those who were in contact with them.”

Officials said the lockdown should stay till the pandemic is controlled and any instances of non-adherence to the lockdown should be dealt with harshly, particularly in cases where there are gatherings of more than 50 people.

They have also suggested issuing orders to fix prices to combat black marketing and putting in place mandatory regular checks on prices of essential commodities.

Inter-state coordination for movement of essential goods and immediate monetary support to migrant labourers and daily-wage workers are some of the other suggestions.

The respondents have said the government must encourage domestic manufacturing of testing kits, create more testing centers and capabilities for all district and sub-district hospitals along with isolation wards to avoid delays.

The survey has identified district-specific challenges. States such as Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Nagaland, and highlighted inadequate personal protection equipment, medical facilities, lack of basic medical accessories such as masks and sanitisers.

Haryana has flagged the tracking and testing of labour movement and migrant inflow as a big challenge along with non-availability of PPE and ventilators. Dumka district in Jharkhand has said it does not have an anaesthetic facility and, hence, cannot run the ventilators. Assam, on the other hand, is facing the issue of implementing the lockdown.

Seventy-five per cent of the respondents said people are taking precautions to cope with the threat of the pandemic. Sixty-nine per cent were of the view that people are handling the lockdown in a peaceful manner, while 31 per cent felt people are alarmed and panicking.

The global pandemic of Covid-19 has so far seen more than a million confirmed cases and over 60,000 deaths.

Ruchika Chitravanshi in New Delhi
Source: source image