The massive earthquake that struck Nepal and adjoining areas of India, Bangladesh and Tibet, has left behind death and destruction. The maximum deaths and injuries and damage to property have been in Nepal. Preliminary reports place over 1500 dead in Nepal and over 200 in neighbouring countries. Thousands have also been injured. The Richter scale tipped at 7.9 – an undoubtedly severe earthquake. It was also followed by a large number of after-shocks and according to the authorities, some more are expected.
The response to this massive human tragedy, both in India and Nepal was phenomenal. Decision-making in the Government of India has undergone a sea-change. Gone are the days of leisurely committees and core groups staffed by bureaucrats took their own time in meeting to decide what to do. As with all committees, they could never come up with unambiguous decisions that could be implemented without going back again and again for clarifications.
As soon as news of the earthquake started filtering in, Prime Minister Modi brooked no delay in ‘taking charge’ and vigorously activating the usually slow and cumbersome government machinery and chasing everyone ‘to act and act now’. It needs to be highlighted that it was a Saturday and being a non-working day, offices were closed. However, such were the directions emanating from the PMO that the usually somnolent bureaucracy shed their sloth and moved fast to implement the policy decisions of the PM and the Cabinet.
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