A debate is going on Social Media that the Modi Government failed to deal with surging Covid-19 positive cases in Delhi and other states. For a common citizen, it is easy to get carried by a narrative that is aimed to disrupt a performing agency in order to create more chaos. Hence, a common citizen must be aware of power and duties allocated to Central as well as State Government.
India is a federal structure in which the division of powers between Union and State is declared through three kinds of the lists in Seventh Schedule in the Constitution of India.
1. Union List I
2. State List II
3. Concurrent List III
Union List includes 97 numbered items of national importance such as Defense, Banking, Currency, Foreign Affairs etc. State List lists of 61 items such as Police, Trade, Agriculture, Health Department etc. In Concurrent List, both Central and State Government jointly make laws to conduct the concerned department such as Education, Forest, Trade, Marriage etc.
The Health Department is a purely state subject. It is the constitutional duty of a state’s Chief Minister to run Health Care Systems such as hospitals, clinics, laboratories, sanitization etc. A Chief Minister can blame the Central Government only when a state is not sanctioned funds from the Center.
Maharashtra and Delhi are the most affected metropolitan cities, where Covid-19 positive cases are surging unprecedentedly. Hospitals are choked on oxygen shortage with doctors and nurses suffering from fatigue and mental health problems. And Chief Ministers of the two states are blaming the Centre for the grim situation they are facing in their states. It is Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal—whose state Delhi has surpassed Mumbai to become the worst hit Covid-19 capital, as rising numbers of patients are gasping for medical oxygen—has turned into a cry baby abandoning his responsibility as CM of Delhi.
The Central Government had sanctioned funds in December 2020 to set up Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) plants for production of oxygen throughout the country. The PM CARES Fund had granted Rs. 201.58 crores for installation of 162 medical oxygen generation plants.
The PM CARES Fund had provided funds to build 8 PSA in December 2020, but the crying CM set up only one such oxygen plant in Burari Hospital. The Delhi High Court was forced to reprimand the Kejriwal government that the oxygen crisis spiraled due to mismanagement and inefficiency of the Delhi government.
No effort to collect medicinal oxygen allocated to Delhi by Delhi government.
After miserably failing to build PSA, the Kejriwal Government didn’t take any steps to collect the medicinal oxygen allocated to them. What can be more pathetic than that Delhi High Court has to remind Delhi Government, “Every state is arranging its own tankers, if you are not having your own tankers, arrange them. You will have to do it, get in touch with the Central govt officers. We are not here to facilitate contact between officers.”
The Kejriwal Government spent Rs. 150 Crores for publicity of his government.
What is worse when Covid-19 patients are gasping for medicinal oxygen, Arvind Kejriwal has spent Rs. 150 crores on advertisement in the first three months of year 2021, according to an RTI revealed. It means the Kejriwal government spent an average Rs. 1.67 per day, when the Health Care System in Delhi is crumbling in the second wave of Covid-19.
HM Amit Shah intervened to help Delhi fight with rising Covid-19 cases last year.
Delhi Government had failed to provide medical service to increasing Covid-19 patients even last year in 2020. It was HM Amit Shah, who came to rescue Delhi. Apart from announcing loads of measures such as testing in every polling station in the containment zone, house to house health survey, Center deputed six IAS officers to the Delhi Government for Covid-19 management in 2020. It was the Central Government, who had built the Sardar Patel Covid Care in Chhatarpur area in July 2020, in South Delhi. With 500 oxygenated beds facility, Sardar Patel Covid Care is the world’s largest center, built by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP). After it had cured 11,657 patients, it was closed down in February 2021.
Central Government reopened Sardar Patel Covid Care
On 22 April, Union Home Ministry announced to reopen the facility, providing adequate number of medical officers and paramedical staff to man 500 oxygenated beds. 1700 feet long, 700 feet wide, the Care is roughly the size of 20 football fields, and has 200 enclosures with 50 beds each.
Kejriwal expects medical oxygen to be delivered at his doorstep. He rushes to the Centre for Covid-19 Care to be built. Nevertheless, he doesn’t hesitate to blame the Central government for failure. But, when it comes to taking credit, he is in the front seat raising his hand. If the Central Government has to do every duty, what purpose is the State Government serving? Why does India need a Federal Structure?