• ATISH MATHUR

Model Case Study II

Updated: May 5

Question 1:

You are the Incident Commander of a District during the Coronavirus Pandemic. You are incharge of enforcing lockdown and containment measures in your district and also co-ordinating travel arrangements of people coming in and moving out of your district. Corona positive cases are constantly on the rise in your district causing a lot of panic amongst the people. In addition to this, two fully packed trains of migrants from a metro city are inbound. Residents of the district are protesting the arrival of the trains as it might enhance the risk of a community spread. Despite movement restrictions in place, several instances of people not following safety measures are being reported to you and in the media as well. You are under pressure from your superior to take immediate measures to control the situation.

How would you proceed to handle this situation? Examine the qualities required by a civil servant to handle a scenario like this. [20 Marks 250 Words]

(I have purposely only given you one question to write as this is a tough one and would require some serious thinking. On a side note, the Incident Commanders are Sub-Divisional Magistrates which is your first posting after your training. This is what you would have been doing if you were in service right now)

P.S. Hint: Refer to Q. 7 (2019), and Q. 9 (2018)

Good Luck.

Answer:

The unprecedented scenario presents three specific issues that need to addressed in an order of immediacy which have to be executed by demonstrating qualities of leadership, objectivity, and selflessness. :

  1. The Travel Conundrum

  2. Enhancing Safety Guidelines Compliance

  3. Worried Citizenry and the Media

Across all the three scenarios a primary conflict of Righteousness v. Consequentialism comes to light - The migrant workers have a right to be home like any one of us and the people also a right to be worried about the consequences thereof.

The Travel Conundrum :

The train movements have been specifically arranged by the Central Government (Railways) after taking due consultation with the respective State Governments. As the incident commander, it is my foremost duty to implement the orders of the State.

Course of Action -


  1. De-boarding passengers from alternate compartments from the train so that there is no flux of all passengers on the platform while manning all exit points by law enforcement officials.

  2. Immediate thermal scanning of the passengers by setting up multiple counters on the platforms itself and providing them with food, water, and medicines.

  3. Passengers transiting to other areas to be escorted to the buses so that there is continuous monitoring.

  4. Passengers staying in my district to be proceeded to Institutional Quarantine Centres which have been vetted with precautionary measures, security, and all possible comfort as per guidelines issued.

  5. Taking assistance of reserve police and civil defence volunteers to aid in the process.

  6. Being personally present to supervise the process and boost the morale of the officers.

Enhancing Safety Guidelines

Course of Action -

  1. Stricter enforcement of guidelines and setting up containment zones wherever necessary.

  2. On Ground Microphone Marches to ensure the messages are delivered to the households.

  3. Social Media Campaigns for further outreach.

Worried Citizenry and Media

  1. Identify the root cause of the protests and key stakeholders.

  2. Holding talks with key stakeholders and journalists and informing them about the risks involved.

  3. If talks are not successful, taking appropriate action per the law.

We, as ground officers in such a crisis must respond to the higher calling to utmost commitment to the most important stakeholder of governance - the very people we have sworn to serve.


[240 words approx.]

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