Bad Policy Making during Pandemic – UPSC GS2

Bad Decisions by government which worsened COVID:
  • Prioritizing universal health coverage instead of strengthening public health facilites:
    • India prioritized insurance coverage after 2014, for example, Ayushman Bharat. Whereas, international experience showed strengthening public health care is the right way.
    • For instance:
      • UK’s National Health Service Act revolutionized health care in the United Kingdom by delinking it from a person’s income.
      • Kerala’s heavy investment in public health care in the 1950s increased the capability of Human resources.
    • High-level expert group appointed by the Planning Commission concluded that progressive strengthening of public facilities is the only way to achieve universal health care.
  • Discarding Principles of Science:
    • Discarding the principles of Science worsened the Pandemic situationThere are instances when Science was least prioritized by the government,
    • Government representatives supporting Patanjali’s Ayurvedic cure for COVID-19.
    • Ignoring the Suggestions of public health expert or Scientists in Public policymaking related to Lockdown, organizing Kumbh mela, Election rallies
  • Manipulating Data:
    • Government’s apathy towards prioritising Data integrity. For example, Maximizing GDP numbers, employment statistics changing baselines, withholding periodic labour force surveys.
    • Under-reporting of Covid-19 infection and Deaths.
  • Ignoring Good economics principles:
    • For instance, relying on Freebies rather than prioritizing sound Welfare economics like Institutionalising social security net.
    • According to the latest report by the Azim Premji University, 230 million Indians slipped below the poverty line during the pandemic.
    • Providing Social security net to the BPL population would have limited the Pandemic disaster in India.
    • Even the global experience from US, UK, Germany, and China proved the same. Yet, India discarded the global experience.
Adherence to basic scientific and rational principles helped India to effectively fight against smallpox and polio. This needs to be replicated now.

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