While the COVID-19 pandemic disaster has hit the world alike, its impact on people from disparate socio-economic standings has 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.
Political Economy Perspective
Dr Sehar Iqbal, Development Expert Fellow at Lady Margaret Hall highlighted the socio-economic indicators of Jammu and Kashmir. It had a heavily funded public sector, until 2019 when it was given the status of a union territory. The delivery of resources and information has now been centralized, sowing seeds of lack of transparency and in-accountability.
The health, disaster management and inter-connected infrastructure are understaffed and under-equipped. The government has to enable an environment of cooperation and consultation. This has not happened yet due to the political backdrop that engulfs the Valley, severing relations between the residents and the government.
- 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.