Opinion: India must remedy its lack of ethics | Opinion | DW


There is no doubt that the Indian government has been very incompetent in handling the COVID-19 pandemic. Before wishing for a change of government, it is necessary to understand the nadir of ethical values ​​that played a vital role in independent India’s greatest humanitarian crisis.

Many people have been deprived of their sanity, sanity and money in this pandemic. There are no more rules if you want to save someone. People pay up to ₹ 50,000 ($ 683; € 560) for an ambulance; ₹ 100,000 or more per day for the admission of a loved one to the hospital. We are bombing black market rates to buy basic necessities like medical oxygen and antiviral drugs.

How did we come to this stage of ethical imbalance and moral abrogation?

An ethics system that has always failed us

DW’s Ankita Mukhopadyay

We have had nearly 75 years to create a democracy to protect the needy and create opportunities for people of all castes and classes. Instead, the privileged have accumulated more privileges and the poor have become poorer.

Over the past seven decades, basic necessities like quality health care have been confined to the private sector, which primarily caters to the privileged or connected people. When the pandemic put pressure on the private sector, the rich and privileged pulled all the strings possible for their loved ones, leaving the needy in dire straits.

Today, India’s richest man is not prepared to waste even 10% of his wealth on helping the same country whose broken system allowed him to earn up to a quarter of the country’s GDP. Meanwhile, celebrities are asking for donations from citizens of a country where nearly 30% of the population lives below the poverty line.

The pandemic has also exposed the blatant lack of ethics of highly qualified administrative and police officers. Why are most of our bureaucrats unable to run the country effectively or hold politicians accountable, yet can they be found on the front lines to get favors for themselves and their children?

It is a common adage in India that in anything that involves government, the process will be slow and government officials will be lazy. This happened because we built a system that reduced the proficient to incompetence.

A country that wants to become an economy of 5,000 billion dollars (4,000 billion euros) must first build confidence in its system before setting itself more ambitious goals.

Stop looking for models

It is time for Indians to stop looking for role models to escape their reality and start arguing for real reform. We must accept that our lives will not be solved by money, good degrees, immigration to the West, religious gurus or by becoming a government official.

Our life in this country is much larger than the pursuit of superficial goals and it is our responsibility to work collectively for development.

But development is a pluralistic term and requires a collective effort. The first step is to appreciate our federal structure and work to strengthen our state governments.

The political center, led by the BJP, is there to facilitate administration, but not to become the center of vile religious fanaticism. Religious policy will simply do more harm than good for India because it will divide the nation. The concept of divide and rule was used by the British to divide India into two religions, but we must not go back on this path if we are serious about getting rid of our colonial hangover.

The ruling party must get ahead of the curve and prepare for the next wave of the pandemic and create safeguards for the needy. The first step in this process is not to make vaccines a basic necessity, a privileged reserve.

It is true that India needs to see change as soon as possible. But, before we call for change, it is necessary that we address this rot within our ethics that will tear the fabric of whatever comes its way – even a new government.


About Harold Hartman

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