Life is precious

Wednesday 29th April 2020 10:27 EDT

Dear Readers,

It's a two-front battle. We must fight the virus and the economic downturn. But when it comes to where to put the might, there cannot be two options. Life is precious. Times like this must have popped up a question in some of your minds — how worthy is the life?

Across the world, the governments are applying their best minds on when and how to end the lockdown. Options of world leaders now are no different than what they were in March while imposing lockdown to curb coronavirus spread- lives and livelihoods.

Covid-19 has created several questions, which are not a matter of statistic alone. But it is never whether to save life or economy. There is no choice. Even if there is, it is very clear that saving a life is what we should focus on. The world-over damage to the economy could run into trillions of dollars. But no value can be put on life. We see different countries adopting different levels of lockdown to deal with the most severe humanitarian crisis of the century.

US President Donald Trump has shown eagerness to reopen the economy. He has also found some ground support from the voters. The US last week has witnessed people taking to the streets, staging protests, moving along the highways with placards that demand an end to the lockdown.

In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, recovered from Covid-19, is back to 10 Downing Street after three weeks. He has won the personal battle against coronavirus. But now he will have to walk a tight rope. A few individuals, who had pumped in millions in his leadership and the last general election campaigns, demand a quick exit from the lockdown. Few tycoons who helped him or his conservative party have attempted to dictate a democratic government, is undoubtedly worth examining.

Nobody challenges the need for lockdown, which affected all the sectors, be it marketplaces, entertainment plazas, industries, commerce, business and transport.

Second most populous and the largest democracy, India, has set an example for the world to study. The Union government led by the strong leadership of PM Narendra Modi has managed the support of 28 states, some of which are ruled by the opposition parties.

On Monday, for the fourth time, Modi held a video-conference with all the Chief Ministers. Some of the states want to extend the lockdown till June. A few want the central government to take drastic measures and open up earlier. One thing is clear now. The entire gamut of life will change beyond expectations in all its aspects. You cannot put a square peg in a round hole.

Based on the latest Singapore University of Technology and Design Data-Driven Innovation Lab, India should be 97 per cent free from Covid-19 infection by around May 21. Most other countries may also witness a substantial recovery.

An epidemiologist has said 2.5 million people would have died in India without a strict lockdown measures . It's not the matter of the statics alone. But how you do the balancing act is what matters more.

New Zealand, a sober member of the rich country club, has come out with a striking report. The scientists think tank drew a conclusion from past experiences. One of the earliest countries to impose lockdown, NZ's GDP is set to contract by over 6 per cent. A new report Quantifying the wellbeing costs of Covid-19 by the New Zealand Initiative shows how an economic hit of about 6.1% of GDP would be justified if it meant saving 33,600 lives during the Covid-19 .

By other countries standard, India, home to 1.36 billion people, has opted for a strict lockdown. Nearly 87 per cent of people are happy and supporting the lockdown speaks volumes for their values and culture. Compassion and humanity are at the core of Indian ethos.

Win-Win for RIL and Facebook

Mukesh Ambani, one of Asia's richest and head of Reliance Industry Limited, accepted a friendly investment from Facebook April 22.

Through the surprise deal, seen as a boost to the Indian retail market, Ambani will accept $5.7 billion investment from the US social media giant in Reliance's telecommunication and digital service Jio .

The deal has been finalized a year after the chairman of oil and petrochemical giant, argued for data colonization-a move against tech giants like Amazon, Facbook and Apple owing and storing data abroad from India.

The deal will help reduce RIL's debt burden.

RIL petroleum has been a cash cow for quite some time. And, now other giants like Jio Retail are likely to get a boost in the company of Facebook. In the post-Covid world, this deal will change the focus of Indian digital sector from China to the US. So far, Chinese data giants like Alibaba and ByteDance have been the driving force for the Indian digital space.

India is one of the youngest countries. Its youth , full of ambition, energy and enthusiasm, and willing to work hard have opened the doors for the rapid growth of the country.

comments powered by Disqus

to the free, weekly Asian Voice email newsletter