By Sanjay Bhatnagar
It is said by none other a retired bureaucrat that any great idea requires political acceptability, social viability, financial feasibility and administrative ability to get a shape. Precisely, this is the case in Uttar Pradesh which may still be away from the victory against Covid-19 but the relief measures in the time of lockdown could well be a learning curve for young administrators.
It is not that all the efforts should be accentuated through tangible achievements but the volume of efforts and the ambience in which they are put should always be taken into consideration. Before anything, the statistics of Uttar Pradesh- it is bigger than many of the European countries in size and with humongous population size of about 23 crore, 75 distrcits and more importantly in the times of social distancing, the population density of about 900 per square kilometre. Having written that, now imagine the task of putting Corona protective measures in place and at the same time cater to the needs of huge population in the lockdown.
The UP Model is an example of how a political will is turned into a happy situation by the ‘eternally on the altar’ bureaucracy.
It was in the January last, much before the threat of Corona dawned on us in real terms, the UP Model of Fight against Corona had come into being. The training of medicos and paramedics was planned even before the first case surfaced.
Before March 25, 2020 when a national lockout was announced, the UP government had already declared lockout on March 23, fully realising the ground situation.
Uttar Pradesh was the first among all the states of the country to have identified hotspots even as the lockdown continued in the entire state. The places with more than six Corona Virus cases in the cluster are identified as the ‘hotspots’ and are totally sealed and cut-off from the rest of the state.
It was during the lock down when the UP government identified corona hotspots spread over 15 districts in the first phase followed by others in total of 45 district in second and third phase. The more hotspots were identified in second and third phase.
Identifying over 250 hotspots areas and cater to the needs of about 20 lakh of population in these districts has been an onerous task at hand. The success of UP Model, in fact, lied in the execution of the plan. Screening of about 4 lakh houses and lakhs of residents was done without any hiccups. Not only this, the population in hotspot areas and other lockdown regions was supplied essential commodities through seamless system of step door delivery, another hallmark of UP Model perceived by the CM Yogi Adityanath, presence of community kitchens and availability of essentials, health and sanitation services all through.
In a holistic approach, the UP Model comprised of the identification of Hotspots, a novel initiative in its own right, nursing the needs of the persons in the lockdown and looking after the financial needs of the deprived, poor and helpless who are embroiled in such precarious situation.
The largest state in terms of population, the state government, in addition to adequate health measures showed empathy towards the financially weaker section and followed the age-old principle of Antyodaya .
Already ahead in Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) , Yogi government started with transferring money into the accounts of lakhs of labourers, daily wagers, old age pensioners, destitute persons, small time vendors, rickshaw pullers, contractual labour and MNREGS workers, no mean task .
Many will agree to it that the success of UP Model was untiring efforts of a team of bureaucrats which excelled at the time, it was most needed. In addition to Team 11 of CM Yogi, each headed by one senior IAS officer including the Chief Secretary, APC, IIDC, Additional Chief Secretaries and various Principal Secretaries and Director General of Police (DGP). with primary work of sanitation, Corona testings, operate quarantine wards was the result of bureaucratic excellence.
One such team, led by Commissioner-IID (Infrastructure and Industrial Development) Alok Tandon having Principal Secretary-Industrial development Alok Kumar, Principal Secretary Labor Department Sudhir Bobde and Principal Secretary, MSME & Export Promotion Navneet Sehgal as its members. The idea behind creation of this team is to address the issues of wage payments to the workers, uninterrupted functioning of units related to essential goods among others. Similarly, other teams are given separate mandate.
Additional Chief Secretary (Home and Information) Awanish Kumar Awasthi, said the enforcement of the lockdown was another major challenge which was well accepted by the police and in this time of crisis displayed its professional acumen as well as human face of the force. He said all credit of the success of UP Model, which received accolades from the Centre as well, was the hands-on monitoring by the state CM Yogi Adityanath.
“It is the success of the Model that after Pilibhit, Hathras and Maharajganj, now Allahabad has also become coronavirus-free. The district magistrate of Bareilly, which had one hotspot, has also declared that the cases there are turning out as negative,” he said.
Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Awasthi said some districts are gradually turning out to be coronavirus-free.
It is also exemplary that CM is not cowed down by the post-Covid scenario and wants this situation to perceive as opportunity for new vistas of businesses. Mean –another UP Model in the offing.
(Note-The views expressed in the article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the IndiaEditor.com.)