Gaming the system is a term that usually carries negative connotations of achieving desired outcomes by manipulating rules and procedures that are meant to protect and regulate the system. However, it can also be utilised for benevolent purposes. At the core, it is power play. But ultimately, how power is wielded and what purposes are achieved for the common good, provide scope for an informed judgement.
The passing but devastating second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic has brought focus on India’s health care system, and calls to strengthen it will rent the air until either another wave arrives or another event, good or bad, gains centre stage.
But these constant streams of events blind us to perceive the issue as a whole or how the second wave of the pandemic in India connects to the extant strengths and weaknesses of the Indian State. In particular, the State acts through its political system, which is the fountainhead that provides the wherewithal to tackle the menaces as well as to discern, create and exploit opportunities. The sole purpose in theory is one of improving the welfare of its citizens. This is what Kautilya describes as the central focus of statecraft — Yogakshema.