12 May 2021 ~ 0 Comments

As deaths rise, Covid deals a body blow to the steel frame

Is India’s fabled ‘steel frame’ only creaking or is it screaming?

The coronavirus pandemic surge has devastated big cities including the capital and brought the healthcare system to its knees. India has now been recording the highest number of new coronavirus cases in the world and the death toll is mounting.

The second wave of the pandemic has spared no one, not even the elite administrative services that are charged with oiling the wheels that run the nation. According to sources, more than 100 senior officials, including IAS, IPS, IRS and others, have lost their lives to Covid. The news of the deaths of senior babus including Bihar Chief Secretary Arun Kumar Singh and three of his 1985 batchmates – former CBI director Ranjit Sinha, former secretary Department of Land Resources R. Buhril and serving Director of the Panchayati Raj Department in Bihar and many others has got the babus rattled.

Further, the president of the UP IAS Association Deepak Trivedi and Additional Secretary of Health in Bihar R.S. Chowdhury too died, both within a week. In recent weeks, nearly two dozen top babus across Central government ministries and departments, including the Health Ministry, have tested positive for the coronavirus.

The severity of the epidemic has hit home. When even the powerful in the land are not safe and anxious about their health and that of their families, they are pushing the panic button. The “System”, normally a bulwark against the vicissitudes of fate that often visit upon the citizenry, has collapsed this time. it must be a novel experience for the nation’s elite administrators. Clearly, the old trusted “networks” and reliable connections have failed.

Naturally, none of them can say this openly but India’s once-fabled “steel frame” has bent and buckled in the face of the pandemic headwinds. The creaking is audible, even if it actually feels like screaming.

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