The COVID-19 Pandemic has not only triggered health hazards across the globe, but also has quite an impact on Democracy. Immediately after the outbreak of Coronavirus worldwide in January-February 2020, the political leaders across the globe imposed lockdown measures in order to contain the spread of the deadly virus. Although they had no other option, especially in the absence of vaccines; the move certainly limited personal freedom and democratic participation, the two inalienable parts of the Democratic System…
The Democratic System has recently been under stress mainly because of the rise of populist and nationalist waves in many countries, including India. The external geopolitical threats from various authoritarian actors have added a new dimension to the crisis. In such a situation, the COVID-19 Pandemic has triggered a new stress, posing a series of questions to globalisation, democratic decision-making process, and an absolute dependence on science and information technology. As a whole, the Pandemic has challenged the ability of the Democratic System to cope with some events having such devastating circumstances.
People in India and many other countries, including Germany and the US, have strongly criticised their Governments for imposing the lockdown. In India, the people slammed the Government especially after the deaths of migrant workers who made an attempt to return to their homes from different cities on foot! Such incidents took place because of the Policy-makers, who followed the instructions of the Experts! The Experts had advised the Government to impose the lockdown in an attempt to stop spreading of the virus. Had the Policy-makers given time to the migrant workers to return to their homes before imposing the lockdown, many lives could have been saved! This particular incident shows that the Democratic societies often face crises of sorts…
In this case, the Policy-makers have failed to respect the principle that all people have Equal Rights to participate in the political system, or in the decision-making process. They have become the victims of the complex nature of certain public policy issues. Indeed, it was difficult for them to respond to the COVID-19 Pandemic, as they had to abide by the advice of the Experts. Their advice might lead to the best outcomes for the entire society at times. However, it might go against the public sentiment, as well! In the modern-day world, it becomes increasingly difficult for the Democratic System to tackle this issue…
The problem lies in the very nature of Democracy. In an Authoritarian System, the ruler can make decisions fast, on the basis of her/his own judgement. However, the Government has to consult with each and every section of the society in a Democratic System. As a result, it takes time to implement a final decision on an issue. However, the spread of Coronavirus gave hardly much time to the Government. As the Government had to depend on Experts’ advice, the move became an undemocratic one. It seems that it is difficult for a Democratic Government to deal with this apparent conflict especially when the people are well assertive of their Rights and Liberties. One can hope against hope that the pandemic will help the system find a solution in the coming days.
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