Solving Present Health Care Crisis With Lessons from Green Revolution

Synopsis: India is facing a severe shortage of healthcare infrastructure. But, this is not the first time. India has already tackled a food shortage which was worse than this during the 1960s by the green revolution.


India is witnessing shortages of almost everything that is needed to treat COVID-19 patients. Such as hospital beds, drugs, ventilators, Vaccines, and, above all, medical oxygen. Many countries such as the US, the U.K., the European Union, and even China offered help to India to tackle the second Covid-19 wave. This situation resembles India from the Mid-1960s.

The Situation of India during the 1960s:
  • India faced a severe food shortage after facing two consecutive years of drought. After that, India forced to accept US aid. It is a point to note that, India at that time neither supported USSR nor the USA.
  • President Lyndon, send food to India by the shipload. So that India can keep the ship on a short lease”
  • Though it was the worst situation, the response of Indian leadership was exemplary.
  • Prime Ministers Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi, and others brought the scientific and bureaucratic communities to debates. Especially to bring a quantum leap in food production.
  • The debate turned into action very soon. Within a few years, India achieved Food security.
  • No one imagined that India from such a dreadful situation will achieve food security this fast.
  • The Green Revolution stands out in Indian history even today. It is the display of extraordinary accountability of political leadership, combined ability to resolve an issue from bureaucrat and Scientific community.
Advantages for present India vis-à-vis 1960s:
  • In March 2020, India faced a similar 1960s problem on health infrastructure. To improve the medical capability and delay the Covid-19 spread India imposed lockdown at very short notice.
  • But India has certain advantages at present when compared to the situation in 1960. Such as,
    • At present, India has a  better industrial base, compared to the 1960s. So, India needs some time to ramp up hospital beds, ventilators, and oxygen supply.
    • Similarly, certain parts of India actually have a surplus of oxygen. They can help to fulfill urgent demands.
    • India has an enormous foreign exchange reserve at present. This is not the case in the 1960s. So, India was in a better position to import some crucial medical inputs such as vaccines.
  • Inter-State variation in death rate is directly related to the amount of health spending with respect to the state domestic product. Similarly, the health infrastructure of the country is also important. So, to avert any future crisis States have to increase the level of spending on health.
  • India also witnesses a hike in Food prices during the pandemic. This denotes that there is a disruption of supply in between in the supply chain. This will be further impacted due to various State-level lockdowns. To avoid this, PM has to interact with the farming community. This is an important lesson for India from the mid-sixties.

Source: The Hindu


India to Import “Medical Oxygen” to cater demand

Print Friendly and PDF