Knee-Jerking Around

Thursday, 29 October 2020

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Knee-Jerking Around

Swapnil Bharali | April 29, 2020 13:22 hrs


As we follow the news of the day [and midnight which is when the union ministry of home affairs (MHA) seems prone to drop the latest bombshells], one thing has become abundantly clear. There seems to be just no coordination or consultation between the state of Assam and the central government in this combat against Covid-19. 


Sample this: last midnight (the cusp of 24th and 25th April), the MHA issued an order which basically implied that all markets in rural and semi-rural areas will be open (non-essential items can be sold in all kinds of shops in a rural area), market complexes in urban (municipal) areas cannot open for business, and non-essential goods can be sold in urban areas provided that the shop in question is located in a residential area or is a standalone shop (also provided that the shop is registered under the Shops & Establishment Act). Great news indeed for normalizing the situation and since it was an MHA directive, it was purported to be applicable for the whole country. 


But no! Come morning, the order first sent Assam’s ADGP (Law & Order), GP Singh, into overdrive to issue a clarification tweet that the MHA directive would not apply to Assam immediately. The state government’s directive in this regard is to be awaited. Thereafter, to reiterate his ADGP’s stance, the Chief Secretary, Kumar Sanjay Krishna, also took to Twitter through the Directorate of Information and Public Relations (DIPR) to say that any decision that might be in conformity with the directive of the MHA, will be taken by the state government on 27th April (Monday next) and until then it is status quo.


Now, this is just the latest instance of something that has almost become a habit with our governments. Remember, the Ravi Shankar Prasad tweet that private establishments would be open from 20th April and the scurry of the local dispensation to nullify the same? Point is, we Indian citizens are going through an emergency that is unprecedented for us and given that we are in Assam, the full onslaught of the emergency is yet to hit us. And so, it is natural for us to take things lightly. But this kind of knee-jerk reactions from our government is not only unwarranted but only contributes in creating unnecessary confusion and even panic at times and so the governments need to show more maturity in this regard.

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