While the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the world alike, its impact on people from disparate socio-economic standings and the government response have been unequal. Keeping in line with this and in continuation of the rural realities webinar series, the Center for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies (CHURS), IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, organized a panel discussion on “Rural Realities Practitioners’ Experience in Tackling the Second Wave in Indian Villages” on June 1st, 2021.
Mr. Tikender Singh Panwar, Former Deputy Mayor, Shimla; Visiting Senior Fellow, IMPRI laid the groundwork for the session by discussing the public health challenges and role of the government in India, and policy actions in Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.
The IMPRI team gave a brief presentation in order to provide an overview of the union territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh. They informed the participants about the state’s geographical and socio-economic status and gave insight into the situation of COVID-19 in India and the union territories, highlighting pertinent emerging issues.
Testing and Vaccination
Dr Pabitra Kumar Jena, Assistant Professor, School of Economics, Shree Mata Vaishnu Devi University noted that civil societies and organizations have been active in the rural areas. The government, on the other hand, has not been proactive. Specifically, in the case of daily income earners, the government should provide special packages.
There is regional disparity between Jammu and Kashmir and further sub-regional disparities among regions. Medical infrastructure and guidelines are weak. One reason why the mortality rates are at their existing levels in the union territories is owing to the delay in response to the symptoms of COVID-19. In terms of vaccinations, Dr Jena is optimistic about its standing in Kashmir.
- The government policy action has to be consistent with development of health and economic sectors.
- Investment in public health infrastructure is a major aspect in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Delayed testing has to be avoided by creating awareness and cooperation among residents.
- Relief packages for Below Poverty Line people will support the people.
- By monitoring entry points into the union territories, the number of new cases can be controlled.
- Telecommunication facilities have to be set up in rural areas to support online education.