As we brave the firestorm of the COVID-19 second wave, the single, clear, overall impression is that the government’s efforts to tackle this unprecedented crisis have all but collapsed. Individuals are on their own, assisted by a heroic but over-strapped healthcare system rising to the challenge, backed by civil society efforts. The problems are too numerous and grim to be enumerated, ranging from shortage of oxygen, to beds, vaccines and medication.
Yet, when the layers of government are peeled away, below the overall failure, a chequered picture emerges. Some states are doing better than others in all aspects of facing the devastation. Local governments such as municipalities and panchayats are also performing better, though their efforts are not celebrated enough as they happen far from the media’s eye. The Union government’s failures are all out there for us to see, regardless of the efforts to remove social media posts that are termed ‘inflammatory’.