Letters to the Editor dated April 9, 2020

| Updated on April 09, 2020 Published on April 09, 2020

Combating Covid

As India wages a spirited battle to contain the spread of coronovirus, there are some southern States that stand out for their exemplary governance and administrative acumen and leveraging the same to handle the ongoing public health crisis in an effective manner. Kerala, in particular, is leading the way.

As a seasoned administrator who had handled the Nipah virus outbreak and the unprecedented floods in 2018 with greater alacrity, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is now directly communicating with the public, disseminating clear strategies and offering safety nets. A drastic fall in new Covid-19 cases in Kerala after the lockdown holds a lesson for others. High investment made in public health and excellent public delivery services mechanism over the decades have now come in handy for southern States such as Kerala and Tamil Nadu to ensure their fight against the scourge is more effective.

M Jeyaram

Sholavandan, TN

Pharma research

It takes a health emergency to draw universal attention and a degree of respectability to the pharmaceutical industry in particular and to the sphere of medicines and vaccines in general. In normal times, governments seldom think twice to bring in price control as an aspect of ushering customer affordability in the drug industry.

The truth remains that the R&D costs are immense and major institutions spend $3-5 billion to research and market just one drug. Strangely, while technology has helped cut costs in other sectoral sciences, the cost pharmaceutical research has stayed the same and in many cases gone up.

And it is this costly infrastructure of specialised equipment, highly skilled scientists and the vast cache of clinical data that help cut down significantly on gestation of research down the line.

R Narayanan

Navi Mumbai

Trump’s threat

Apropos ‘Fact vs fiction: Trump’s ‘threat’ to India over HCQ supply’ (April 9), even granting that Trump’s warning was the result of a misunderstanding, it was in poor taste. Issuing such threats to a friendly nation, on camera, is not diplomacy. It is reported that the US has banned the export of medical equipment to other nations, to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic in its own backyard. None has questioned that decision, which is in keeping with Trump’s election promise of ‘America first’, made in 2016.

Further, as ‘charity begins at home’ any nation would ensure the safety of its own citizens first, before extending help to others. It is odd that Trump does not recognise this right in other nations.

V Jayaraman


Compensating workers

Apropos ‘Who should compensate the workers?’ (April 9), the author makes it clear that the employers have no mandatory legal obligation under any Act to pay full wages to their employees during the lockdown period irrespective of nature of employment. Nevertheless, they have the rights to lay off workers in the case of natural calamity. Employers have their own financial constraints which clip their wings of magnanimity of tendering full wages to their workers without work. Hence the government has the onus to give subsidy on the wage bill and share the burden with the employer.

NR Nagarajan


Phase II of lockdown

This has reference to ‘PM to discuss lockdown with CMs on Saturday’ (April 9). The number of positive cases reported by ICMR may be low due to the limited testing being carried out in the country. Under these circumstances, the country has no choice but to extend the lockdown by a few more weeks.

During the second phase of the lockdown, strict use of masks while going outside homes, total quarantine of hotspots, increased testing, isolating infecting persons and availability of essential supplies may be ensured. Deployment of para-military forces may also be considered to enforce discipline and avoid supply chain disruption. We need to be prepared for short term economic pain and mental stress for long-term benefits. Sooner we win this war, better it is for the country and the world.

Kanak R Nambiar

Kannur, Kerala

Send your letters by email to bleditor@thehindu.co.in or by post to ‘Letters to the Editor’, The Hindu Business Line, Kasturi Buildings, 859-860, Anna Salai, Chennai 600002.

Published on April 09, 2020

A letter from the Editor

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