Saturday, May 8, 2021

The Oxygen Mess

The judiciary of the country appears to be shaken by the pandemic.  The timing of this awakening matches the appointment of the new Chief Justice of India.

One High Court after another (Delhi, Karnataka) is ordering the Central Government to ensure supply of whatever oxygen the respective Chief Minister (CM) asks for. The Supreme Court refuses to stay such judgements. Oxygen supply is constrained. The center finds itself pushed to the corner.

CMs are bound to exaggerate their requirements. A most basic approach would have been to draw a transparent state-wise oxygen allocation plan, based on objective measures such as number of serious cases and deaths. This will have the salutary impact of getting states to report their real numbers, without any cover-ups.  But then, it shows a worse (but real) face of the country to the world, than it already is.   Yes,  this will remove the Central Government's discretionary power.  But that is a better situation than being cornered by multiple high courts and the supreme court.

One gets the feeling that the government is missing on the fundamentals to manage the pandemic.    

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