Mr. Prime Minister, people do not need the gimmick of clapping and banging the plates, Fight with Corona virus calls for real and effective steps!

Like every crisis, Narendra Modi’s fascist government has responded to Corona crisis too by organizing a media event. As always, Modi in his address to the nation on March 19 concluded by expressing his ‘Man ki Baat’, which was as hollow and nonsensical as ever. People with scientific acumen and general awareness know that 14-hour public curfew and clapping and banging of plates will not eliminate the risk of Corona virus. Amidst the gross negligence of the government, our country has reached the third stage of virus infection, after which if there is no miracle, then an explosive situation can arise and millions of lives can be endangered.

Such warnings are coming from many countries and experts in the world that this epidemic may continue to affect for many months to come. This is not just a matter of few days.

Social distancing is the right way to deal with the Corona virus, but firstly it is not enough and secondly, if the government does not take immediate steps, then it is not possible for all to bear the cost of implementing it. Many celebrities are giving video messages to the upper middle class of the country to ‘work from home’ , and to give paid holidays to their domestic workers (although this is more due to their own fears).

But come to think of it: how crores of daily wage and contract laborers of the country will live in the lockdown situation? What will millions of domestic workers, self-employed workers such as street vendors, cart pullers, auto drivers, e-rickshaw pullers, hawkers do? If factories force unpaid leaves, what will the factory workers do? What will the crores of construction workers, such as groundsmen, painters, mesons etc. do? How will the crores of farm workers survive? How will the poor peasants survive? This is the population that lives on their daily earnings. If this section does not get work for one to two days, it will reach to the brink of starvation.

Therefore, social isolation alone is not enough; rather, the government must immediately facilitate nutritious food, clean accommodation, free masks and sanitizers and clean drinking water to prevent infection to more than 55 crore urban and rural laborers of the country and about 27 crore poor and lower-middle farmers. Besides, a free government testing of the Corona must be arranged on a large scale and not just for people coming from abroad, so that the infection can be prevented from spreading and the infected persons can be quarantined. Modi government is silent on this and is not even uttering a word.

Those terming the Corona infection a conspiracy, are stupid ‘conspiracy theorists’, whose intellectual level is not more than what requires for reading the cheap detective novels. Such people include not just the Right-wingers but also several so-called Marxist-Leninists as well. Viral infections occur spontaneously in the process of interaction of man and nature. But the way capitalism exploits nature and the way it ‘degenerates’ (destroys) without any process of ‘regeneration’, it increases the probability and frequency of the production of such viruses and the spread of infections. The real cause of deaths and diseases due to the spread of these viruses is the lack of appropriate steps to deal with them. Even this time, more deaths occurred in China in the initial phase because the government did not take necessary steps immediately. When the steps were taken, the disease was controlled to a great extent. South Korea also took effective steps after the first few days so that the infection was controlled to a large extent.

But despite several warnings in India since January, no measures were taken to prevent Corona. Rational steps are not being taken even after the situation has turned very serious; its consequences can be frightening. Neither large-scale testing has been facilitated, nor are adequate masks and hand sanitizers available for prevention. There is a shortage of hospitals and in the existing hospitals there is a shortage of beds, doctors and nurses. Doctors and nurses who are working day and night to save the patients, do not have adequate safety equipment, because of which a significant number of infected people so far are from among the doctors and nurses.

In such a situation, the fascist bufoon Modi is instructing to clap and bang plates in their appreciation and his blind-followers are dancing to his tunes as usual. Mr. Prime Minister, they don’t need clapping and banging plates but adequate safety equipment, testing kits, beds and other resources. What has the Modi government done in this direction? Instead of preparing government hospitals to deal with this emergency, private labs and hospitals have been allowed to test for 5000 rupees! How many people in India will be able to afford this test?

Being the true servant of the capitalists, the Modi government has left no stone unturned in making this emergency situation an opportunity for profiteering. At this time, there is a need to implement controls on the prices of medicines and all essential commodities and for that reducing the prices of petrol and diesel would go a long way. But despite the unprecedented fall in the price of petroleum products in the world market, the Modi government has not reduced the price of petroleum products and is looting the public by raising taxes and duties on it, so that the lavish lifestyle of the leaders and ministers is not compromised.

Even Spain, a capitalist country, has nationalized the health services to deal with the emergency situation arising from the Corona virus. This incident also showed that the capitalist class itself is accepting that private health services are not adequate to deal with such emergencies. Although public health services will also remain inadequate in the hands of the capitalist class, but given the naked dance of profit and human-flesh being carried out by the private hospitals, nursing homes, etc., a considerable section of the population will die with this type of viral infection.  Kerala government has taken some steps in our country, which are very limited, but at least they are real. Similarly, the government of South Korea, and the Chinese government took some effective steps, albeit a little late, which helped in overcoming infections and treating patients. But the Modi government disposed off their duties by conducting a media event and gimmick.

On behalf of the Revolutionary Workers’ Party of India, we demand that the government should take concrete and substantive steps to prevent the spread of Corona infection and to help the vast toiling poor population in the event of a lockdown. We demand the following steps:

1) Comprehensive and free testing for Corona virus should be made available by the government. Adequate testing kits and other resources should be provided for this.

2) Sufficient facilities should be provided in sufficient quantity to quarantine the infected people. The condition of existing quarantine centers should be improved without delay.

3) if required, Complete lockdown should be implemented and in such a situation, public distribution should be facilitated to provide all the basic things free of cost to the public.

4) Daily wage workers, contract workers, domestic workers, construction workers, street vendors, rickshaw pullers and the vast toiling masses should be facilitated with food rationing because their livelihoods have been worst affected due to Corona.

5) NPR-NRC should be cancelled and the funds of Rs.4000 crores allocated in the budget for NPR should instead be used for the prevention and treatment of Corona.

6) All private hospitals and nursing homes should be nationalized on the lines of the Spanish government and testing and treatment of the Corona should be made available free of cost on a large scale by recruiting doctors, nurses and other medical staff in large numbers.

7) All workers and employees working in all government and private undertakings except basic services should be given full paid leaves. All employees and laborers from the basic services, especially those which are necessary for the prevention of Corona, should be provided adequate safety equipment and safe working environment must be ensured for them.

8) Sufficient living allowance should be given to all the poor working population who are self-employed.

9) Facilitate free food rationing for all the common toiling masses and food grains kept in the FCI godowns should be made available for this purpose.

10) In order to ensure clean accommodation facilities to all, the government should nationalize all the government and private vacant flats and give it to the families who do not have pucca houses.

11) Clean drinking water and adequate number of clean toilets should be provided in the neighborhoods and colonies of all workers’ settlements and the vast toiling masses.

12) Recovery of all borrowings from banks and financial institutions, water-electricity bills, taxes etc. should be immediately postponed for the toiling masses until the means of their income are stabilized as before.

13) To raise additional resources for all these facilities, special taxes and duties should be levied on the capitalist class and the wealthy class. Extravagant expenditures on the MPs, MLAs, ministers, leaders, bureaucrats should be stopped and they should be given the same salary as skilled workers.

14) Temporary health centers should be opened in all shopping malls, banquet halls, multiplexes etc. and a suitable system for examination and treatment of Corona should be made available there.

15) Stringent action should be taken against those who spread fake news, superstitions and rumors about Corona virus and the government should publicize that people should act only in accordance with the guidance of World Health Organization and recognized experts.

These are the minimum mandatory steps, through which the Corona virus infection can be prevented from spreading in our country and from turning it into an epidemic. We demand from the Government of India that these steps be taken immediately so that the safety of life of the common people can be ensured. Otherwise, we are heading towards a catastrophe and mass tragedy in times to come and Modi government’s gimmick will be entirely responsible for this.