An empowered group with complete decision-making authority is the need of the hour; Says Chidambaram
India has been consistently reporting more than 320,000 cases since the last week.
Heart-wrenching stories of individuals dying due to lack of treatment and hospital MDs begging for oxygen are a typical scene.
Virologists and scientists do not have a say in decision-making. The health ministry was not even bothered to assess the possible implications of the double-mutant virus variant until March this year.
Former union home and finance minister suggests the government should set up an empowered group of experts with absolute authority to make decisions.
“The prime minister should stop pretending he knows everything because he knows nothing.“
During his recent interaction with NDTV, Chidambaram said, “We have handled several such crises earlier. Rajiv Gandhi tackled a serious drought during his tenure as prime minister. We tacked AIDS and other critical situations as well. Every time, we had set up an empowered group to make decisions. In case of war, the generals take decisions and share the info with the prime minister. He will interfere exceptionally. Did Vajpayee take all the decisions when the Kargil war was on? Did Indira Gandhi take decisions when the Bangladesh war was on? It would help if you let experts work, especially people who have handled such situations in the past. The PM cannot assume that he knows all the answers because the fact is that no individual knows all the answers.”
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Over the last year, the government should have tied up with steel plants and other industries to produce oxygen. They had the opportunity to ensure oxygen can be made available to fill up cylinders. There was sufficient time to pre-plan transport arrangements. The government has miserably failed to do that. Now, people are running from pillar to post.
“India is going through a national crisis, an emergency. Hospitals cannot manage the provision of oxygen to patients when they are in a precarious position? It’s a complete, colossal, gross mismanagement,” pointed out the former union minister.
“At present, there’s no empowered group that’s allowed to make decisions. One person takes all the decisions. If he’s away campaigning, there’s no one even to answer the chief minister’s desperate call. Thus, the first step should be setting up an empowered group of experts to make decisions. The minister or prime minister should only intervene by exception.”