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 organized a Panel Discussion on “Rural Realities | Goa| Practitioners’ Experiences in Tackling the Second Wave in Indian Villages” on May 28, 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.
Giving a snapshot of socio economic condition of Goa and current pandemic situation in the Union Territory a presentation was given by IMPRI researchers Swati Solanki and Mahima Kapoor. 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 Goa, highlighting pertinent emerging issues.
Various Differentials of COVID 19 Impact in Goa
Moderating the session Dr. (Advocate) Albertina Almeida, Lawyer, Human Rights Activist, Goa, talked about differentials of COVID 19 impact.
Dr Almeida emphasized that rural does not mean simply rural areas but also means rural reach, the rural poor, the rural disabled and the rural women.
She stated that there are different sections that have been impacted differently in the current pandemic crisis. It is important to look at how government is responding to COVID 19 but also it is equally important to see the health consequences in terms of other indices leading to comorbidities.
Also under the cover of COVID 19, there are lot of macro projects being sanctioned with suppression of freedom of speech which should be looked down upon.
The pandemic has given us wide ranging issues from lack of access to basic information about COVID in rural areas to unorganized testing facilities, issues of availability of medicines and oxygen. There also exist issues of accessing basic livelihood facilities during the pandemic in the state.
She stated that the situation in Goa is pretty alarming with high positivity rates. There also exist implications of post COVID issues to people who have recovered from the pandemic. The state has to improve on providing access to health facilities to the most vulnerable sections of the society.
She further added that Goa being a tourist state has not been able to curtail cross border movements of the tourists in the state. The government failed in dealing simultaneously with the economic and health perspective, which is worsening pandemic situation in the state.
She highlighted the failure of coordination level between various authorities she said that COVID is a pandemic and is dealt under National State Disaster Management Authority with bureaucracy at one level and health infrastructure at another level and there seems to be no appropriate coordination between the two with tendency of blaming each other. The budgetary reallocation and budgetary priorities of the State need immediate attention.
Showing her concern on lack of community support and states negligence towards marginalized communities she said that state should take full responsibility of protecting marginalized communities and providing them with basic livelihood amenities during pandemic with support of civil society organizations. She further added that there should be adequate budgetary allocation towards health facilities to cope up with the pandemic in a better way.
She also supported appropriate compensation for the people who have lost their lives or suffered COVID due to inadequate government capabilities and its negligence. There is need for proper coordination between disaster management authorities, government bodies and governance at various levels.