New Delhi, June 18 : The state-citizen trust deficit between Indians and the Central government,which witnessed a nadir during the peak of the second Covid wave that wreaked havoc in India in April-May, appears to be improving since Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address to the nation on June 7, the latest data of IANS/CVoter Covid Tracker survey revealed.
The trust and confidence of the country's citizens in the Central government's ability to deal with the lethal virus that was as high as 66.3 per cent on March 16 this year witnessed a sharp decline in mid-May.
In the Covid tracker data collected on May 10, only 32.4 per cent of the respondents expressed their confidence in the Central government's ability to handle the worst crisis of the century.
The tracker revealed that the Nett rating crashed almost by half, from 66.3 per cent to 32.4 per cent within a span of eight weeks flat when the Covid infections and mortalities spiralled in the country.
According to the latest IANS/CVoter Covid Tracker, the Central government's Nett approval ratings on dealing with the pandemic repaired to 52.1 per cent as on June 16.
This upswing in public perception was observed after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address to the nation on June 7, when he announced a slew of measures to deal with the pandemic.
However, this surge is limited only to the issue of Covid crisis and vaccination. The overall satisfaction ratings with the government is still on the long recovery curve, where the tracker revealed that the slide stopped in the third week of May when it crossed the 35 per cent-mark on may 17 and 40 per cent milestone in the last week of May.
The real recovery started to reflect on June 7 when the Nett rating on Covid handling crossed the 45 per cent-mark, before eventually crossing the 50 per cent-mark on June 13.
The IANS/CVoter Covid Tracker reveals that this trust deficit started receding and things began to improve in favour of the government after the first week of June, when Modi announced free Covid vaccine shots for everyone.
The Prime Minister in his address to the nation had announced that the Centre will take over the responsibility of Covid vaccination from the states and provide free vaccines to all Indians aged 18 years and above from June 21.
The Prime Minister announced that the Central government will procure the vaccines as part of the centralised vaccination drive and give them to the states for free.
The IANS/CVoter Covid Tracker data show that this decision of the Central government played a significant role in clearing the confusion surrounding the vaccination drive in the country.
Similarly, the data reveal that the Central government's decision to extend the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana till Diwali to provide free ration to 800 million poor people to mitigate the hardships brought about by the lockdowns and restricted economic activities played a role in starting the much-required damage control for winning back people's confidence.
The cumulative data of the IANS/CVoter Covid Tracker revealed that almost every 10th respondent in the workforce was still out of work and even among those who got back to work, almost half of them reported loss of income when compared to the pre-Covid times.
The current extension of the free ration initiative till Diwali is likely to cover the income deficiency to a large extent, as a huge majority in the bottom of the pyramid spend their earnings primarily on ration.
Another major decision of the Central government that played a big role in confidence building measures was the cancellation of Class XII board exams conducted by the CBSE.
In the IANS-CVoter snap poll conducted right after this decision, almost 56 per cent approved the government's decision, while about a third were unsure about the impact of the same. Very few respondents said they disapproved of the decision to cancel the board exams.
The IANS/CVoter Covid Tracker data clearly reveal that the Modi government's Nett approval ratings on Covid crisis handling started improving right after June 7.
An improvement of about 15 per cent in Nett ratings since mid-May shows that the government is on a serious damage control mode.
However, the Centre will have to work a lot on health infrastructure and its allied sectors to win back the confidence of the people and dispel the fears of a third wave of Covid-19.
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