An entire city (Noida, India) has been told to download a controversial contact tracing app — Or face jail: "Not installing the app will be considered a violation of lockdown orders," police say
As much as I hate Modi and his government, they handled the epidemic better than some of the developed countries. This is outrageous of course, but I'm surprised he is doing something.
Also the state where I am from did an excellent job in flattening the curve and contact tracing, the state is the last bastion of leftist government in the country.
I wonder how it is that Kerala is so different from other places? Why can they do things that others can't?
Looks like they simply prepared well ahead of time, and they locked that shit down tight when cases finally started appearing. From the Guardian article intux linked:
I mean more generally. I only have a vague impression from reading a few articles, but Kerala seems to have a surprisingly large amount of state capacity, particularly compared to other places in India.
The state government prioritized education and healthcare early on and made a point of staffing those agencies to get results rather than using the jobs as patronage positions to give out to cronies like the governments in many other states did.
Edit: It's also a general pattern that the"princely states" in India (that were ruled by native rajas, nawabs, and maharajas instead of directly by the British Raj) tended to have much better rates of education and human development outcomes. Not always true, of course, but more often than not. This helped set many of them up to do better after independence.
Making sure you have a population that is literate and knows enough about social studies to be aware of their rights can do a lot to both curb corruption and foster civic mindedness.
I think the history about how that happened might be interesting. Good intentions often fail.
Immediately post independence one of the struggles the fledgeling Indian government had was keeping the whole country together instead of having it splinter apart like the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This was especially salient since the British already partitioned it along the Hindu/Muslim axis. There was still lots of agitation to further partition it along linguistic lines.
So part of the bargain the Indian National Congress had to strike was balancing trade-offs between local leaders and bigwigs. Large agencies were created or taken over and the jobs in those agencies were used as bargaining chips to keep restive faction leaders bought into the new government. This created an expectation that the clerical government jobs were meant to be rewards for political connections and loyalty rather than a professional endeavor. The actual professional part of the civil service was too small to deal with it.
What happened in Kerela (and West Bengal), was that a few Marxist parties came to power after organizing the farmers on explicit promises to deliver on education and healthcare. These were high priorities at the time, even within the central government, so they got rid of the previous government that still operated on a cronyist basis and professionalized things. They were basically building the public health and education systems from scratch too, which is always easier than reforming something that's already there.
Of course, nowadays the Marxist parties are just as cronyist as the ones they replaced. But, like I said, education is one of those things that pays all sorts of dividends in all kinds of unexpected places down the line. Also, being Marxists, there was a commitment to radical gender egalitarianism so female education and literacy were also prioritized. This means the women knew how to read, get involved organize, and teach their kids. You get HUGE social returns to that.
Very interesting! Thank you.
Just one caveat. This is a very specific historiography of modern Indian history and politics. Not everyone subscribes to it. There are takes that focus more on the personal politics of the Nehru family, there’s a Marxian take that focuses on this as a duel between peasants and workers and the ruling class. The Marxist take also often gets smooshed together with a caste focused take that replaces “class” with caste and “capitalists” with “Brahmins.”
I, personally, don’t think any of them have as much explanatory power as the geopolitical one, and I think most of the other takes are a bit too fixated on reading history through the prism of contemporary politics or some kind of Marxist or Hindutvaadi ideological lens. But then again I’m a political scientist who was educated with a constructivist perspective so of course I would say that.
Ah, gotcha. Can't help there though unfortunately, since I am woefully under-informed when it comes to politics in India. :(