ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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COVID-19 and a Just State?


One of the important consequences of COVID-19 has been that it has led the state to modulate itself into a “just” state. Its justness is sought to be defined in terms of its morally commanding position to extend its power of control or regulatory authority to almost all spheres of the country’s public life. Arguably, the Indian state has brought its economy, institutions, cultural life, social and religious life, and transport systems—air and ground—under strict regulation. The state seems to have acquired, although temporarily, the character of a maximum state. However, it is more interesting to note that the Indian state, with its extensive thrust, seems to have found public support for its decisive presence in these fields. The minimal state, in the libertarian thinking, has a restrictive role in the material life of the people. How does one understand the people’s acquiescence to a maximum state and what are the conditions that led to the maximisation the of state?

First, it is needless to mention that it is the enormity of the threat of the novel coronavirus that seems to have made people “supportive,” if not pliant, towards the state’s “authoritative”
appeal. It is the devastating nature of the threat of the virus that has eliminated the grounds of objection to the state’s decision of a complete lockdown. The maximum state, thus, seems to be morally justified as its extension in the basic spheres of life is considered to be essential for the “protection” of the lives of people. The heart-wrenching narratives of migrant labourers have to wait for their recognition before the official narratives of protection.

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Updated On : 23rd Dec, 2020
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