- The two imperatives, of extending the lockdown to reduce the rise in number of COVID-19 cases and relaxing lockdown to increase economic activity, might seem conflicting.
- But the key to resolving the impasse lies in recognising that different states have different needs and demands, and they should be given a greater say in decisions on which areas to open up and how after May 17.
Strategy to open-up according to the Central Government
- The Union home ministry allowed the resumption of economic activities in districts that had not seen a single COVID-19 case in the last three weeks of April, the green zones, permitting markets to re-open, factories and industrial units to resume operations, and e-commerce in non-essential items to re-commence.
- The ministry also relaxed the lockdown in non-hotspot districts, the orange zones, continuing with stringent restrictions in the districts with high caseload, the red zones.
Opposition to this view by states
- Some states opposed this district-centred containment approach at the outset.
- Arguments were made that the district-wise formula is impractical for densely-populated areas.
- Pleas were made asking for the authority to slot areas into red, orange and green zones be delegated to states.
- A major lesson from the nearly two-month-long battle against the coronavirus is that the country’s demographic, economic, and cultural diversities do not allow for a one-size-fits-all approach.
- Successful strategies to take on the pathogen have relied on and responded to the local officials’ knowledge of regional specificities.
- The exit strategy should be based on the understanding that these officials are attuned to the situation on the ground.
-Source: Indian Express