Yogi Adityanath is one of the most hated politicians by Left-liberals. In their scheme of things, he belongs to the medieval period. The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister’s handling of the corona crisis, however, is better than that of many 21st century leaders.
While there are around 2,000 positive cases and 31 deaths in UP, the corresponding numbers for the US are over a million and 56,000 and for France, over 1.65 lakh and 23,000. The population of UP is about 23 crore, whereas that of the US is about 33 crore and France, 6.7 crore. The pre-emptive measures adopted by the Narendra Modi regime have helped check the severity and spread of the coronavirus. When complemented with a competent local administration, the people of the state concerned enjoyed greater safety. UP is one such state.
War against corona
The Nath Panth Yogi in the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister—undeterred by the media pressure and un-enamored by ‘bureaucratic wisdom’—soldiers on. Facts speak for him. There is the big and bold decision to bring back lakhs of migrant workers stranded in other state to home came. This was after Yogi lost his father. In fact, he chose not to attend the funeral, putting the state and society before it. Yogi's big firsts: Rs 1,000 financial assistance to poor and vulnerable section by direct transfers to their bank accounts Community kitchens across the states. Bring back more than 4 lakh migrants dumped by the Delhi government.
Universalization of PDS. Bringing back 7,500 students from Kota. Plans to generate 4-5 lakh jobs back home in rural areas for migrant workers. Plan to bring 10 lakh migrants back home. From Zero to 14 testing labs in UP, sample collection at block. Pool testing in the state. Ensuring supply of essentials at door step, including Poshahar for girls & pregnant women in villages. Even before the national lockdown was declared on March 25, as many as 16 districts of UP were locked down from March 23 to 25. In any district where more than six positive corona cases were found, hotspots were identified and those areas were shut down completely and the essential services were ensured by the district administration. From Day 1, medicines, vegetables, milk, groceries, etc., were supplied at the door step, to enable complete lockdown. In hotspots, every house—indeed the whole area—is meticulously disinfected through a medicinal spray using fire-brigade vehicles.
All the people who came in primary and secondary contact of the coronavirus patient(s) in the hotspot area are tested. Testing is one of the crucial steps in defeating the coronavirus spread. UP started with just one coronavirus testing lab; today, however, there are 15 of them. Starting with just 100 Covid-19 tests a day, now UP is testing 4,000 samples a day. UP has also decided to start ‘pool testing,’ becoming the first state in the country to attempt this method. Now, the state has 78 level-1 coronavirus hospitals, 64 level-2 hospitals, and six level-3 hospitals. The state has around 10,000 isolation beds, 15,000 quarantine beds, and around 1,000 ventilator beds.
The King George Medical University, Lucknow, has begun plasma therapy to treat corona positive patients. The state under Yogi's leadership is continuously innovating and increasing its capacity on all fronts to check the spread of coronavirus.
Yogi’s strong grip on law and order has paid rich dividends. The lockdown offenders and rumor peddlers were warned of strict action, including jail. Except a few incidents—Tablighi Jamaat-linked miscreants were booked under the National Security Act for misbehaving with nurses in Ghaziabad and on those who attacked corona warriors in Moradabad—the state followed its leader. Cash transfer of Rs 1,000 each has already been done in the bank accounts of 20.37 lakh workers registered with the labor department.
Around 13 lakh registered construction workers in Uttar Pradesh have benefited. In urban areas too, online cash transfer of Rs 1,000 each has been done for more than four lakh street vendors, auto-rickshaw drivers, e-rickshaw drivers, and other daily wage earners. In rural areas, the same amount has been given to around 3 lakh poor. And the number of poor and vulnerable getting financial assistance is increasing every day. Private companies have been asked to pay salaries to employees and the monitoring is been done on a daily basis.
The post-corona scenario
The Yogi government has already started planning a special package to attract multinational companies which want to shift units out of China. He is also working on a strategy to ensure employment at home to lakhs of migrants who has come back due to lockdown from across the country. The target is to generate more than 15 lakh jobs in rural areas. Universalization of the public distribution system by June 30 will ensure food to the poor, homeless, and vulnerable. This will act as buffer to workers as the job market is not going to be same in near future. (The author, formerly Senior Assistant Editor with The Times Of India, is an Assistant Professor, Gorakhpur University).