Govt’s Focus on Taking Credit Led to COVID Crisis: Amartya Sen

He suggested a “big constructive change” in healthcare and education, and also in economic and social policies.

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On Friday, 4 June, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen said that the “confused” Indian government focussed more on taking credit for its actions rather than making efforts to control the COVID pandemic, which resulted in “schizophrenia that led to massive troubles”.

Speaking at an event held by the Rashtra Seva Dal, Sen, a professor of economics and philosophy at Harvard University, said that India had an advantage in handling the pandemic due to its manufacturing capacity in the pharma industry and higher immunity levels, PTI reported.

His comments came amid the second wave of COVID that has seen over 4 lakh and more than 4,500 deaths being officially reported daily.

“The government seemed much more keen on ensuring credit for what it was doing rather than ensuring that the pandemic did not spread in India. The result was a certain amount of schizophrenia,” PTI quoted Sen as saying.

He further quoted a piece of writing by ‘Father of Modern Economics’ Adam Smith in 1769 wherein Smith said that if somebody does good things, the person gets credited for it and that could, at times, indicate how well the person is functioning.

"But to seek the credit, and not the good work that generates the credit shows a level of intellectual naivete, which has to be avoided. India tried to do that," Sen said.

“It (government) was trying to generate the credit, boasting across the world that India will save it. At the same time, it allowed the problem to develop and take a grip over the lives of Indians across the country,” he added.

He further said that India was already burdened with social inequities, slow growth, high unemployment rate and that it became the “basis of the failure of the pandemic attack as well”.

He also added that “limitations on education led to difficulties in assessing early symptoms and treatment protocols”. He suggested a “big constructive change” in the healthcare and education sectors and also in economic and social policies at large.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Topics:  Amartya Sen   Healthcare   Education 

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