This panel discussion was related to the working experiences of various professionals especially in the wake of the second wave of COVID in Indian villages. It was organized by the Center for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies (CHURS) and “Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi” on 20th May 2021 by the joint efforts of “Parmarth Sevi Sanstha” (Uttar Pradesh). This discussion was another episode of the “Panel Discussion” being organized by the institute for all the states of the country, whose central point should be the rural reality of the states of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh and the issues related to it.
This program was initiated by Ritika Gupta (Assistant Director) of “Institute of Impact and Policy Research”. Dr Simi Mehta (Chief Executive Officer and Editorial Director, Impact and Policy Research Institute) while preparing the background for this panel discussion, while welcoming all the visitors said that the goal of this is to find out by presenting a proper discussion. What is the present status of the second wave of COVID in the states of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh and what are the efforts being made at the ground level by various stakeholders in this regard?
The list of eminent panellists who mainly participated in this panel discussion is as follows- Dr Smt. F. Kazmi (Executive Director, NGO “Parvarish Child Development & Health Care Institute”), Dr Sanjay Singh (Waterman of Bundelkhand, Secretary, Parmarth Samaj Seva Sansthan), Dr Yogesh Kumar (Founder Member & Executive Director, Support – Development Assistance Centre), Shri Devi Das (Farmer MG, Support), Ms Abha Sharma (Director, Judav Foundation, Bhopal), Shri Bhupesh Tiwari (President, Fellow Social Service Organization, Chhattisgarh). Mr Rakesh Paliwal (Retd. Principal Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh) and Mrs Anjali Noronha (Fellow, Eklavya) and Dr Anshuman Karoli (Lead – Local Government, Priya, (PRIA) New Delhi) etc.
Communication and Communication Strategies: Government, Civil Society and other Donor Agencies
The issues on which Dr. Anshuman Karoli (Lead – Local Government, PRIA, (PRIA) New Delhi) spoke in his statement are as follows:
The impact of the second phase of Covid was first in Maharashtra, Punjab in the last March, as a result of which the central government banned all flights to Britain. Also, the impact was less in the villages as compared to the cities of the country. In this phase also, the reverse migration crisis of laborers can be seen once again. Apart from this, in view of the fierce form of the second phase, the states have issued guidelines for partial and complete lock down at their level.
2. Further talking about the rural health system, Dr. Karoli said that the Ministry of Panchayati Raj needs to empower and enable the Panchayats by working strongly towards ensuring better availability of health infrastructure in all the villages of every state. There is also a need to give an advance role to various civil societies for community preparedness under state-centrally sponsored schemes and advisories.
3. At the same time, there is a need for strategic linkages at the local level, so that the rights of the last person in the society can be addressed while reaching out to the local people.
4. Referring to the 15th Finance Commission, he said that there is a provision of clear financial assistance for the primary and community health centers at the block level to get rid of the disease. In the same sequence, it is suggested that the state government, along with civil society, will have to be strengthened at the panchayat level for the preparations for the third wave of Covid.
5. In order to prepare village, block and district health plans under the strategy of the third wave of Corona, there is an urgent need to work in harmony and trust with the government, civil society and other donor agencies.
At the last leg of the discussion, some recommendations and strategies were shared by the panelists point by point in view of the second phase of COVID. Dr. Sanjay Singh, while terming this discussion as succinct and diverse, mainly pointed out the ideas: 1. Communication and Liaison Strategies, 2. Collaboration and alliances of various stakeholders etc.
In the same sequence, Dr. Arjun Kumar of IMPRI team, advocating to work on one-time disaster management, also shared a question – “How to avoid quack and quack doctor in the state of Madhya Pradesh during this global pandemic”. ?
Under this, the role of civil society, the process of clear identification between rural and urban areas regarding vaccination, rural health and nutrition, development and financial allocation under the annual plan, etc. should be addressed in a holistic manner.