23 April, 2021

Who Decides Policy To Fight Coronavirus? The Conflict And A Debatable Law

While states were kept in the dark, the Centre drew on its legal powers to monopolise decision-making on key aspects like testing strategy, kits and emergency supplies

Who Decides Policy To Fight Coronavirus? The Conflict And A Debatable Law

The pandemic has not been kind to Delhi. The state government, no stranger to pugilist moves in politics, is locked in a grim battle. Even since the lockdown was eased, horror stories have been escaping out of city hospitals like ghouls out to torment the populace. The city’s Covid graph is soaring; overloaded hospitals are turning away patients, letting them die without proper medical care. But what’s a crisis if not an opportunity for some extra lashings of mayhem?

We were not disappointed: two contentious decisions came along from chief minister Arvind Kejriwal to set off a right royal row. One was on barring admission to patients from outside Delhi to state-run hospitals. The order was sent back to the pavilion by the lieutenant-governor, Anil Baijal, before you could pronounce N95. The other was a revised testing strategy—that asymptomatic people will be restricted from testing. Again, the L-G scalped it, directing the state to adhere to guidelines set by ICMR. The soundness of the decisions—or the lack of it—in terms of ethics or...

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