THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 01 August 2020 (Towards a new normal: On Unlock 3 (The Hindu))

Towards a new normal: On Unlock 3 (The Hindu)

Mains Paper 2:Governance
Prelims level: Unlock 3
Mains level: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation


  • The Centre has announced further relaxations in the lockdown that began on March 25 to combat the COVID-19 pandemic although the numbers are unrelenting. The third phase will now take effect from August 5. 
  • At nearly 17 lakh, India stood third among countries with the highest number of cases; a third of these cases are currently active. 
  • With over 36,000 deaths, India’s case fatalityrate of 2.16% is relatively low. 

Vigil must continue:

  • The possibility of wider prevalenceindicated in serology surveys in Delhi and Mumbai suggests that the death rate could be even lower than current estimations. 
  • The disease spread has been uneven within the country. The responses of States and cities have also remained inconsistent. 
  • Along with the number of cases, overworked health-care professionals experiencing fatigueand the public showing impatience with restrictions are also on the rise. 
  • This is not a pleasant mix of circumstances, and utmost vigilmust continue. 
  • By now, it is also evident that complete lockdowns that disrupt economic activities cannot be sustained over long periods of time. 
  • Gyms and yoga centres, but not educational institutions, metro rail, and large gatherings, will be allowed in the next phase. 
  • Movement of people and goods across borders will be easier as per the Centre’s guidelines. 
  • Random restrictions on movement such as those in Tamil Nadu, where an e-pass is required for intra- and inter-State travel, must now be done away with.

Key adaptation:

  • As a vaccine or a cure is not yet visible, it is time the focus on adaptation got sharper. 
  • Though many questions about COVID-19 remain, certain measures are evidently helpful in managing the pandemic better and bringing fatalities down. 
  • The coming phase of unlocking must prepare the country for complete opening. 
  • For that, first of all, testing should be unlocked and made available on demand as close to home as possible. 
  • For those infected to not step out of home is a far superior measure in preventing spread, compared to inadequate mask usage. 
  • With most cases turning out to be asymptomatic, wider and cheaper availability of testing must be a thrust area for the government now. 
  • Easy, early diagnosis of infections, even when asymptomatic, will go a long way in containment. 
  • The concerns regarding increased dependence on rapid antigen tests in some places must be addressed. 
  • Second, real time epidemiological data should be unlocked. 
  • Just as weather data is freely available, and allows for cropping practice readjustments, disaggregatedreal time data enables micro-planning and localised behavioural response. 
  • The proclivityshown by some States and cities to conceal data has been self-defeating. 
  • Even official death counts do not match with the numbers available with other sources. 


  • There must be efforts to harvestaccurate data, and with ease of availability. 
  • Normalcy, albeita new one, could be reached faster with the right efforts.

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Prelims Questions:

Q.1)With reference to the Near Field Communication (NFC), consider the following statements:
1. Near Field Communication (NFC) is a contact-less communication technology based on a radio frequency (RF) field using a base frequency of 13.56 MHz. 
2. NFC technology is perfectly designed to exchange data between two devices through a simple touch gesture.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: C

Mains Questions:
Q.1) India is moving towards unlocking state from the lockdown, in this context, what are measures that are much needed in managing the pandemic better and keeping the fatalities low?