The panel discussion was focused upon the conditions of the Indian villages and to share the insights and experiences of the practitioners located in the respective locations. The panel discussion is a part of an expansive series of discussions themed upon the rural realities of Indian villages in the face of the second wave of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The discussions are organized by the Center for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies (CHURS), IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi on the 15 May 2021.
The program was commenced by the Assistant Director at IMPRI Ritika Gupta. Followed by which were the opening remarks from Dr. Simi Mehta Editorial CEO at IMPRI. The speakers were introduced and the foreground was laid for the conversation to begin in regards to the ground reality of the villages in the states of Jharkhand and Bihar in the Second Wave of the COVID Pandemic from the eyes and experiences of the practitioners.
Multitude Problems in the Villages
Opening the conversation, Dr Nalin Bharti, Professor, Indian Institute of Technology, Patna, brought to light that the world pandemic of COVID-19 has deeply affected some of the critical issues of human civilization. It is well known that the first wave of the Pandemic and the subsequent nationwide lockdown had a catastrophic effect on the migrant workers and the urban poor.
But the second wave of the pandemic has proved to be different than the first wave thus adding to the previously existing problems, and also bringing up new ones. The second wave of the pandemic has by and large been disastrous in the interior regions of the country that are the villages, where the people are less aware and the health infrastructure is very weak.
It is widely known that majority of people in India still reside in the rural areas, with the state like Bihar where 94 percent of the total population still lives in the villages. In the second wave of the pandemic which has struck the rural areas.
The authorities are faced with a multitude of problems that include protecting the people from the spread of the virus and the deaths and ensure the health and employment to the people along with providing mental and economic strength to the masses in these unprecedented times. With this the Dr. Bharti prompted the speakers to share their insights and experience on the aforementioned subject.
Next in the discussion was a presentation by Sunidhi Aggarwal, Research Assistant at the Impact and Policy Research Institute. The presentation contained all the valuable statistics on the topic of the second wave, like the infection rate, availability of the health facilities, vaccination drives and the related challenges.