A day after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's public address on the situation in the country due to the spread of the coronavirus, many people took to social media to share their disappointment as they had anticipated much more from him.
The reason that some netizens criticised the prime minister’s speech was because they drew parallels between his address and that of Kerala state chief Pinarayi Vijayan.
The twitterati pointed out how Vijayan’s recent speech included plans for a special financial package of INR 200 billion ($2.66 billion approx.) for the state along with ideas to distribute social security pensions to the elderly.
In his speech, the Kerala state chief also mentioned action plans in some areas, including better interconnectivity for people working from home, health packages, and mask production, among others.
Speaking to Sputnik, noted political analyst Shastri Ramachandaran stated that Prime Minister Modi's speech gave no information to people about the state of the country's preparedness against the coronavirus - which originated in neighbouring China last December and has led to over 10,000 deaths globally.
“At a time when people are faced with an unprecedented life-threatening crisis, the prime minister's speech did little to allay their fears with assurances of what may be forthcoming from the state to mitigate the situation”, said Ramachandaran.
On Thursday, noted public interest litigations lawyer and social activist Prashant Bhushan compared Prime Minister Modi’s proposed measures to deal with the crucial situation in India with the measures being taken by the Canadian government.
On 18 March, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the government would provide up to $27 billion in direct support to Canadian workers and businesses under the COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. He also set aside a sum of $305 million for a new distinctions-based Community Support Fund to cater to immediate needs in weaker nations.
Just compare the enormous measures that the Canadian govt has announced to help people through the #Covid19 emergency, with what Modi announced yesterday. Janta curfew & making noise in front of our house Vs Real measures to help those who are being devastated https://t.co/rZUQZw5nbQ— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) March 20, 2020
Ramachandaran also supported Bhushan’s opinions on the subject.
“In stark contrast we have the examples of heads of other countries such as the US, Germany, the UK, France, Canada and Spain. They responded to people's expectations in their respective countries in the context of the Coronavirus epidemic, it's economic impact on people's lives and what their governments would do to provide relief, particularly to the most distressed people and poorer sections of society”, the analyst added.
The coronavirus pandemic, which is known to attack the respiratory organs in people, has infected over 250,000 people globally, according to real-time statistics platform Worldometer. Currently, 171 positive cases of the coronavirus have been recorded by India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, all with international travel histories, along with four deaths.
Ramachandaran also noted that other states must also learn from Kerala state’s “stellar example” and replicate its effective practices and responses in the matter.
Prime Minister Modi has urged the people of India to follow an almost day-long curfew on Sunday as part of a mock lockdown trial. In addition, he has also called on Indians to come out to their balconies and doors at 5:00 PM IST and clap collectively in appreciation of India's medical staff, who are at the forefront of the battle against the coronavirus.
The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.