Kamal Haasan re-imagines India for 'post-COVID world', calls for 'epidemic preparedness budget'
"We are under threat a lot more from within than from outside our borders. Our priority towards Health needs to be reimagined with a handsome budget to match," Haasan said
Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan on Monday re-imagined India for the "post-COVID world" and suggested measures across different sectors, including an "epidemic preparedness budget" for the health sector.
"While there are concerns, it's worth praising how this crisis is setting a precedent with state governments coming together and co-operating with each other as well as with the Centre. I sincerely hope this becomes a norm and help overcome perennial battles like the water crisis, pollution, migrants' woes, women's safety, communal violence, healthcare etc," Haasan said on his Twitter account.
"The last full-scale war India fought was almost half a century ago, but poor healthcare is an everyday war leading to 1.6 million deaths annually. Yet, year after year our Defence budget overshadows the healthcare budget," Haasan stated and added that it's a "pity that India continues seeing Defence as a more newsworthy proposition compared to healthcare".
He suggested that India needs to earmark an "epidemic preparedness budget with immediate effect".
"We are under threat a lot more from within than from outside our borders. Our priority towards Health needs to be reimagined with a handsome budget to match," Haasan said.
The Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) President later went on to talk about the Agriculture sector and said that India requires a 'Green Plus' revolution that firstly converts part of our agricultural land for an allied enterprise like processing, logistics, etc.
"Secondly, we need to accelerate productivity maximization on a war footing. Boosting agro based MSMEs will help retain youth in the sector and build a sustainable and prosperous future for farming. This will also solve the problem of seasonal lack of work for farmers," Haasan said.
He also suggested bringing India's vast informal sector into the formal fold.
"Bringing India's informal workers under the formal fold must become the biggest national exercise that the government needs to undertake in the near future. Other than boosting the morale of this segment and paving way for its growth, it will also mean enhanced tax collection, a lot of which can be ploughed back to improve infrastructure and offer welfare to the same workers," Haasan said.
"There is also a need to change our outlook towards the vast majority of women who toil their lives away under the status of 'housewife'. Women engaging in housework must be accorded job status. They have little or no savings and a Universal Income Guarantee will give a boost to their savings. Savings always help during any kind of crisis," he added.
Haasan even suggested correction in income inequality and poverty alleviation.
He added, "COVID-19 has shown us that poverty still remains India's most critical challenge. In a crisis, the rich will take a hit but they will not starve to death. Our leaders must learn to integrate the poor man's life in how they plan the running of the country. Relief measures are mere afterthoughts."
In conclusion, Haasan said, "It's time we reinvent the word superpower, India's pipe dream for decades. Let's be a universal thought leader, to put it in parlance a Vishwa-Guru and for all the right reasons."
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