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. To discuss the government’s approach.
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.
Prof Ghanshyam Shah asserted that we are living in an extra ordinary time. The governments are approaching the NGOs to reach out to the people effectively. There has to be a ray of hope. Human development is lacking, therefore we need to work together as all stakeholders need to be involved. There is a lot of confusion. Health policies need more attention. Livelihood issue is a major concern. We have to see the society in the context of broader than our own experiences. The government has to come out of the denial mode. We have to build faith among the masses. We should think about the long term crisis.
Building Trust Mechanism
In conclusion, the panelists talk about what the way forward should be, which primarily focuses on the need to empower and trust communities and NGOs that can help the government address the pandemic in the best way possible, not only in urban India but rural India as well.