JB Priestley, the novelist and playwright, was being mischievous when he said that “public opinion polls are rather like children in a garden, digging things up all the time to see how they’re growing”. Of course, he was spinning a yarn but there is an element of truth to what he said because it is crucial to understand what polling is and what it isn’t. There is a consequence as to how polling is interpreted and the commentary and actions that follow.
Throughout C|T Group’s tracker polling on the COVID-19 crisis, India has shown remarkedly different data on a number of key indicies, compared to other global markets.
Here, Atul Jhamb, Executive Chairman of C|T India discusses what this might mean for the country’s emergence from the pandemic – and its steps into the future.
By mid-March 2020 the coronavirus outbreak was rapidly rising in many parts of the world. Cases in India were still very few with preventive measures of screening and quarantining people coming into the country imposed early on.
The Indian government got into proactive mode and executed a nation-wide lockdown on 25th March. The lockdown has been one of the longest and most stringent in the world, extending over 9 weeks with an entire population of 1.30 bn people being made to stay put.
This massive exercise very effectively controlled the proliferation of the outbreak in the country. This gave the Indian government time to prepare and rapidly produce sanitizers, PPE kits, procure ventilators, other life saving equipment and add beds in hospitals. The government acted on a clever suggestion and converted immobile train compartments into hospital beds.
An extensive communication exercise was launched to keep citizens informed. Officials from the health ministry spoke to media everyday, appraising them about the evolving situation.
The ‘Aarogya Setu’ app was launched, which provided real time information to people about infected people in the vicinity of six feet. A chatbot answered questions in 11 languages. By mid June the app had crossed 120 mn downloads.
In addition, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has addressed the citizens at frequent intervals steering the country through decisive leadership and appealing people for support and co-operation.
In the recent weeks, coronavirus cases have increased rapidly across many parts of India. There was a certain inevitability of this happening with extremely dense urban population and not very strong health infrastructure. Undoubtedly, had India not enforced the strict lockdown, the escalation of cases would have happened a lot earlier and the infection rate would have been much higher.
Amidst all of this, Indians continue to show resilience and optimism. According to the C|T Group Global Leadership Insight Tracker, Indians have believed in the work the government has done to protect society. Week on week, since the beginning April, we have seen Indians polling much higher than their global counterparts.