In continuation with the ongoing discussions on the Rural Realities around the country, the Centre for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies (CHURS), IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi and International Institute of Migration and Development (IIMAD), Kerala organized a Panel Discussion on “Rural Realities |Kerala | Practitioners’ Experiences in Tackling the Second Wave in Indian Villages” on May 20, 2021, as the second wave of coronavirus pandemic is engulfing the length and breadth of our country, India, and hitting the heartland of our country which is the rural areas.
The IMPRI team informed the discussion by locating for the event participants the situation of COVID 19 in India and Kerala. The team also provided an insight into the geography and Socio economic conditions of the state. The rationale was to provide the participants with an overview of the state of Kerala.
State of Efficiency
Chairing the session Dr. Nivedita Haran Retd. Additional Chief Secretary, Dept. of Home Affairs, Govt. of Kerala, and Honorary Chairperson on Centre for Migration and Inclusive Development (CMID), Kerala said that watching Kerala from outside is a different thing altogether. She further commented that in spite of having one of the best health care infrastructure with very good networks of doctors and social deliverables, with vaccination system going well along with no shortage of oxygen, Kerala was hit hard by the second wave.
She added that the second wave was very much brought by the suicidal mentality of challenging the virus. She said that she would have expected Kerala to have performed much better.
In the first phase of the pandemic the guidelines, SOPs, lockdown and direction issued is all about that government meant business but towards the second wave everything seemed very half hearted. Further she elaborated that decentralized governance is the plus point of Kerala and when it comes to policies and making health facilities available it has to come from state level.
Migrant worker crisis
Taking about the migrant workers she added that the pandemic has drawn attention to the fact that internal migrant workers are there for good and the states cannot do without as 40% of India’s economy is controlled through migrant population. Thus we need to put our attention in providing well-being and livelihood facilities to these migrant workers.
Sharing her views on data Dr. Nivedita says that good scientific data collected is extremely important in Kerala as the state has different profiles of population with high percentage of ageing population. Thus the impact of COVID 19 on Kerala will probably be much different as compared to states of Bihar and UP.