China Model to Contain Pandemic

Synopsis:  The Centre should step in to coordinate policy measures across states to contain the pandemic, rather than putting the onus on the states. China’s model to contain pandemic should be studied and replicated in India

  • The central government recently adopted a decentralised decision-making approach, to contain the spread of Covid-19 second wave.
  • The government has given free hand to the states to decide on lockdowns and other measures.
  • Further, the Prime Minister in his recent speech appealed to the youth to form small committees to ensure adherence to COVID-19 restrictions.
  • However, in the China model, centralised planning along with local mobilization shows a different story. It was immensely successful in containing the spread of COVID-19.
How the China Model functioned?

China Model included the Residential Committees (RC) at the grass-root level and the Central leadership to assist the RCs with resources.

About Residential Committees
  • RCs were officially not part of the state and defined as institutions of self-governance. It had a large number of voluntary youths and college students.
  • They had to perform administrative tasks, implement policy, mediate local disputes. Also, they had a task to assist government agencies with maintaining public surveillance, health, and sanitation, etc.,
  • After the outbreak of the Pandemic, the RCs were the main authorities that enforced rules and assisted people with their necessities. For example,
    • They strictly enforced rules of entry and exit. No residents were allowed to leave, and no non-residents were allowed to access the community area other than for essential medical needs.
    • Also, they assisted people by providing home delivery of daily food necessities, tracing contacts, registering and visiting each individual, etc.,
Role of Central Leadership
  • Further, the central leadership quickly acknowledged the efforts of the “first line of defence” the Residential Committees.
  • The government also supported the RC workers with subsidies, provision of health equipment, insurance, publicity, and other institutional support.

The China Model though had certain challenges the epidemic has been successfully contained.

How the China Model can be replicated in India?
  • In urban India, many have residential associations and local governments that can undertake similar mobilization like RCs in China.
  • Through the support from Central leadership and a centralised plan of action, it can support them through resources and authority from central to local organisations.
  • This will help in the effective mobilization of volunteers for better information dissemination, service delivery, and promoting social distancing.

Allowing states to their own means will only increase policy inconsistency and unequal access between states with different fiscal capacities and healthcare infrastructure. The need of the hour is for the central leadership to step up and coordinate policy measures across the country.

Source: Indian Express

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