Flying in the face
Actor Amitabh Bachchan (pictured) on Wednesday tweeted that a study in a prestigious medical journal had shown that coronavirus “lingers on human excreta much longer than in respiratory samples”. Connecting it to the Clean India Campaign, for which he is brand ambassador, Bachchan implored all: “Come on India, we are going to fight this! Use your toilet.” However, some of his Twitter followers requested him to cite the link to the study, and also reminded him he recently had to delete a tweet in which he had claimed that vibrations from clapping could destroy the virus. On Thursday, Union Health Ministry Joint Secretary Luv Agarwal could barely suppress a laugh when asked about Bachchan’s claim that flies too spread coronavirus. “I can tell (you) this is not correct,” he said with a smile.
The Central government over the past few days has been flooded with advice on how to tackle the economic distress the lockdown would cause the poor. Those giving advice are political parties and trade unions. The Centre of Indian Trade Unions and All India Trade Union Congress, both Left-affiliated, were the first among them. They brought out a long prescription for the Centre earlier this week. This left the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), which is not only affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh but calls itself the largest trade union in the country, red-faced. A day later, the BMS also brought out its list of prescriptions, which read quite similar to those of the other two.
Passing the buck
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday caused some embarrassment to his party’s chief ministers, albeit unwittingly. He has been a votary of the Nyay yojana, or a minimum income-guarantee scheme. He has mooted the idea that the Centre help the poor in the country cope with the economic distress from the nationwide lockdown. “Please transfer Rs 7,500 to every Jan Dhan account, PM Kisan account and every pension account to tide over nutrition needs of 21 days and give free PDS ration,” Congress Spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said. However, Gandhi’s efforts to get the Congress-run state governments to implement it in the past one year have met with resistance because they have pointed at their states’ stretched finances. Questions were raised what if the Bharatiya Janata Party were to ask why the Congress had not implemented it in the states it ran.