On March 23rd, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered the world’s largest lockdown on its population of 1.3 billion. The strict measures were praised by some for their success in slowing the spread of coronavirus but faced criticism for the lack of warning which led millions of migrant workers to return home without assistance. Recently the government has begun to lift restrictions in an attempt to revive the economy.
The Indian government has sought technological solutions to contain the pandemic and these have raised concerns around privacy, surveillance, equity and mass use. Furthermore, some low wage workers are forced to accept these solutions if they are to return to work, leaving them with little choice.
Will India seek to rethink its strategy for leadership in the post-COVID-19 global order? Is it possible to develop technologies that can effectively limit the spread of the coronavirus and ensure privacy?
The speakers argue that careful consideration of the second and third-order effects of the pandemic, and the tools being used to contain it, are necessary to preserve rights, liberties, and even democracy.
Urvashi Aneja, Associate Fellow, Asia-Pacific Programme, Chatham House; Founding Director, Tandem Research
Mihir Swarup Sharma, Senior Fellow and Head, Economy and Growth Programme, Observer Research Foundation
Chair: Gareth Price, Senior Research Fellow, Asia-Pacific Programme