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COVID-19: Centre- State relations

  • IASbaba
  • March 31, 2020
  • 0
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FEDERALISM/ DISASTER MANAGEMENT

Topic: General Studies 3:

  • Issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure 
  • Disaster and disaster management. 

COVID-19: Centre- State relations

To effectively tide over the crisis created by COVID-19 pandemic there is a need for a robust Centre-State cooperation in sharing of best practices & resources.

Let us have a look at two States which have adopted good measures in their fight against Pandemic:

Kerala

  • Draft policy on dealing with COVID-19 pandemic was ready by January last week showing urgency of preparedness.
  • Declaration of COVID-19 as State disaster on February first week itself indicated a comprehensive response to be taken by authorities
  • Constitution of State response team and District response team– to ensure inter-ministry coordination, quick response & regular monitoring of the actions taken
  • Digital System to maintain data of all people under home quarantine (nearly 1.5 lakh people)
  • Everyday press conference by State Health Minister & CM to educate citizens and quell rumours
  • Shut down of anganwadis and schools was followed up by dry ration supplies to their homes. 
  • Utilizing Community kitchens to provide food for the poor
  • Suspension of Biometric authentication at PDS shops as a precautionary measure to reduce the risk of community transmission.
  • Advance payment of social security pensions

Karnataka

  • Multi-pronged strategy that involves Technical strategy, Humanitarian approach and Economic assistance
  • Setting up of high-tech war rooms to exchange information & monitor the spread of disease
  • Tracking the mobile phones of quarantined people through their GPS location and tacking necessary action if they violate the norms
  • Corona Watch app – to inform people about places where infected persons had travelled – helps people to avoid such places
  • Dedicated Helpline, Telegram group and COVID Awareness and Response centre – to spread awareness, respond to people’s queries and fight the menace of rumours/fake news
  • ‘Dasoha line’ (155214) – to handle the demand for food during this crisis
  • Construction labourers and migrant workers –One convention centre or wedding hall in every ward will be taken over by District administration to house them & prevent their migration to home towns

Way Ahead

  • Central government can adopt the best practices followed by some states and scale it up to national level
  • Mission mode implementation of relief package announced by Centre
  • Setting up sector-specific committees to facilitate prompt responses.
  • Centre also needs to enhance the resources of State through measures like
    • Releasing all the pending dues owed to the state governments on account of GST compensation. 
    • Relaxation of FRBM limits
    • Assist states in raising finances from markets (by giving sovereign guarantees)
    • Sharing bonanza from fall in Crude Oil Prices
    • Consult States to ensure that supply chain, spread across multiple states, of essential commodities is not disrupted
    • Harvest time – may lead to price fall or wastage due to disruption caused by lockdown – States to be financially supported (agriculture is a State subject)

Connecting the dots:

  • Inter-State Council
  • Governing Council of NITI Aayog

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