The return of migrant labourers, estimated to be over a million, to Uttar Pradesh over the next few weeks has given an opportunity to both the ruling and opposition parties to ratchet up their political agendas. While the Adityanath government is seeking “good press” for its measures on labour, opposition outfits are making all-out efforts to punch holes in the government’s claim of ensuring the safe and early return of the migrants. With the arrival of UP labourers gaining momentum, the situation is expected to become grimmer in the villages, given their huge numbers. All the major opposition parties — the Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, and Congress — have upped the ante against the Adityanath dispensation by narrating their woes while returning home hungry and penurious. Recently, Chief Minister Adityanath slammed the Opposition for raking up “baseless allegations” and observed the people would give them a befitting reply.
“Parliamentarians with Innovators”, launched a month ago, is a group of MPs of various parties, and it, along with experts in many fields, searches for solutions to problems facing the country because of Covid-19. At its meeting last week, Katriel Friedman of Charity Science Health, initiated by a group of Harvard fellows, proposed creating a district-wise dashboard for identifying children who had missed vaccination during the lockdown. Former health ministry special secretary Meenakshi Datta Ghosh suggested studying the Sri Lankan model, where the government went to schools and those graduating received school-leaving degrees and trained as multipurpose nurses. This could be used to fill the gaps in the availability of health workers, and she asked MPs to look at the possibility of leveraging nursing schools in their states to add capacity.
New Moti Bagh is a gated colony of senior civil servants, judges, and other high-ranking government officials in the heart of New Delhi. Covid-19, however, has also brought its own set of problems for this colony. Some residents have imposed rules on the support staff of the colony, particularly on maids and their families who live in “servants’ quarters” within the complex, but others find them abhorrent. The rule entails not only will there be separate queues for officials and “servants” at the milk booth and the Kendriya Bhandar outlet within the complex, but there will now be separate timings. This is being defended as a way to restrict infection, while some others have said it is discriminatory, and general precautions like “do gaz doori” and wearing masks should suffice.