While the COVID-19 pandemic 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.
Social and Economic Backdrop
Mr Tundup Nurbu, Counsellor of Autonomous Hill Development Council, Leh listed the main issues of lack of trust in the government, misinformation and social stigma among the rural population. Owing to the closely connected community, these problems are exacerbated.
The three key industries of Leh are agriculture, army and tourism. More than the COVID-19 pandemic, people are worried about how to earn their livelihoods.
The government response in the second wave has been lagging. The economic status of the people does not allow for home isolation facilities.
- 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.