To discuss the ways to tackle the spread of the second wave of pandemic in rural areas, the Centre for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies (CHURS) and Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi organized a Panel Discussion on “Rural Realities: Gujarat Practitioners’ Experiences in Tackling the Second Wave in Indian villages“ on May 14, 2021.
The panelists for the session included Mr. Umashankar Yadav, Founder-Director at Ahmedabad International Literature Festival; Ms. Hiral Dave, Program Head at Cohesion Foundation Trust; Ms. Poonam Kathuria, Director, Society for Women’s Action and Training Initiative – SWATI; Mr. Rafi Malek, Director at Centre for Development in Ahmedabad; Dr. Deepak Acharya, Consultant at Development Support Agency, Gujarat and State Medicinal Plant Board and; Ms. Shushila Prajapati, Program Manager, ActionAid Association.
The discussion was introduced by the moderator of the panel Dr. Mansee Bal Bhargava, an entrepreneur, researcher, and educator from the Eco-Development and Research cell in Ahmedabad.
Rural & Urban Differences
Mr. Umashankar Yadav focused on the negligence of medical colleges and how it is made near impossible to get admitted to medical colleges. The pandemic has given a serious reality check on the urgent requirement to improve the health infrastructure of the country.
He also emphasized the discrimination faced by the youth that migrates from rural areas to urban areas in terms of employability and other factors and how this has also been the case in terms of providing healthcare during the pandemic.
It is important to move away from the thought process that working in urban cities is the only key to success and even more so to treat rural India as a part of the country and not exclude it. Mr. Yadav specifically also highlighted the necessity of budget allocation, especially in the healthcare sector and in that, healthcare staff. This, in itself, will help solve numerous problems. The key is to accept that there is a problem, that the country is indeed vulnerable, and accordingly, address this.