The latest reshuffle in Prime Minister Modi’s cabinet has been nothing short of a surprise. With lead ministers being asked to resign, the message was loud and clear – performance counts and the top leadership was only looking at a positive road ahead – a re-work of the wrong U-turns that they had taken especially during the pandemic onslaught.
Two portfolios that have been under fire for the past couple of months are the Health and the Education ministry. Both crippled to quite an extent during the pandemic and were the center of all attention. The pandemic, especially the second wave was a nightmare for India and set the government on a fierce back-footing. With decisions in education also bordering a balance, the way forward for students will indeed be crucial and utmost important.
Keeping this in mind, what is it that the new ministers will have to engage in for the next few months. Their portfolios aren’t easy and speed, innovation, planning could be key to the outcome. PM Modi has handpicked them to make the last mile impact.
The first step will be to improve the image of the Modi government, in the way Covid-19 second wave was handled. This will be an inevitable task for the new minister, and he will have to take it up with full conviction.
Swift actions that are visible. For e.g., the vaccination drive will have to be bolstered with availability of foreign vaccines easily.
Upheaval of the health system as a whole – the Modi government was under fire for lack of oxygen, hospital beds and the overall management during the start of the second wave. The new office will have to ramp this up exponentially.
Future planning – in a probable situation that a third wave may hit the country, the new minister will have to ensure there is a systematic process and set up available to handle it. Whether it is hospital and medical ramp-up or oxygen supply in India.
The future of millions of students across the country was badly impacted because of Covid-19. The general view during the crisis and the ongoing debate about examinations to be conducted or not, saw the then Education Minister receive a lot of flak. He seemed somewhat alienated from the ground reality. His approachability and sensitive handling of the issue got mixed opinions. Therefore, the new minister has critical agendas at hand, especially with the weaning away of the second wave – The education policy ahead.
The new examination process and the methodology that will be adopted for different age groups and classes.
There is a lot of uncertainty in the minds of students. Clear communication, timely solutions and a proactive assessment of probable scenarios could help engage the community concerned much better.
A phased way, if the situation deems fit, for schools and other educational institutions to be reopened.
The bottomline – the larger implication post the second Coronavirus wave was detrimental to the Modi government’s image and the confidence that people had in them was shaken. With the reshuffle, PM Modi has set the expectations somewhat straight – a new work culture is the way forward.
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