Progressive Medicos and Scientists Forum (PMSF) on Friday expressed shock and dismay at the Prime Minister’s address to the nation on Covid-19 on Thursday evening.
Slamming the Prime Minister’s call to observe a people’s curfew on Sunday to test self-discipline for fighting the virus, PMSF in a statement signed by its national convener Dr Harjit Bhatti said it is shocked at the Prime Minister extolling patience as an essential virtue ‘to avoid this disease’.
It quoted the PM saying, “How does one practice patience? By staying away from crowds, avoiding stepping out of homes …You will ( otherwise) not only be unjust to yourself, but also to your family, ” before reminding the PM that 90% of the country’s workforce in the unorganised sector do not have the luxury of staying at home. Daily earning is a necessary condition of living for them, the statement goes on to add.
The PM at the very least could have announced, the statement says,
Financial assistance to indigent families through the Jan Dhan Accounts to enable the poor to stay at home; and
Providing free ration to the poor by utilising the overflowing buffer stock with the Food Corporation of India for at least the crisis period;
While advising people to stay away from rumours, the PM
could have asked people to ignore the absurd prescriptions by his acolytes on spraying cow urine and bathing in cow dung.
Noting that the Indian government has still not been able to finalize arrangements with private labs for testing of the virus, PMSF questioned ICMR’s claim that there has not been any community transmission so far.
“Most shocking is the fact, that based on negative results for Corona in 500 random samples drawn from patients of acute respiratory disease, admitted in ICUs of different hospitals across the country, ICMR is claiming that there is no community transmission in India as yet, said PMSF.
The overwhelming majority of the poor and the marginalised have no access to public health and facilities for testing, the Forum pointed out and reminded the Prime Minister of the steps taken by other governments already.
Spain has ordered all of its private hospitals to be ‘nationalised’
France has ordered perfume makers to manufacture hand sanitiser and make that available to the people for free
China’s largest electric-car maker has, almost overnight, turned into world’s biggest protective face mask producer;
US president Donald Trump signed a bill to enforce private companies to provide paid leave to their employees
In comparison the response of the Government in India, the Forum said, has been both inadequate and irresponsible.