The panel discussion on rural realities in Uttar Pradesh during the Covid-19 second wave highlighted the working experiences of various professionals especially in the wake of the second wave of COVID in Indian villages and its impact on people’s lives and health. It was organized by Center for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies (CHURS) and of “Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi” on 19th May, 2021 by the joint efforts of “Parmarth Sevi Sanstha” (Uttar Pradesh).
The focal point of the discussion was the need to focus on the rural reality of the state of Uttar Pradesh and its related issues.
This program was initiated by Ritika Gupta (Assistant Director) of IMPRI Institute of Impact and Policy Research. Also, by Dr Simi Mehta, who while welcoming the panelists, said that the goal of this is a comprehensive discussion on the situation of second wave of COVID in the state of Uttar Pradesh and the efforts being made at the ground level by the stakeholders.
Prof. Amita Singh (Chairman, NAPSIPAG Center for Disaster Research, Delhi, Retd., Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU)) took over the conduct of this forum, acting as a moderator. Other eminent panelists included Khalid Chaudhry ( Regional Manager, (Uttar Pradesh), Action Aid India, Neelam Verma (State Coordinator (Uttar Pradesh), Indo-Global Social Service Society (IGSSS)), Vivek Awasthi (Executive Director, U.P. Volunteer Health Association).
Dr. Sanjay Singh (Secretary, Parmarth Samaj Sevi Sansthan, Jhansi), Lenin Raghuvanshi (Founder and CEO, People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR), Varanasi), Saurabh Lal (CEO, Model Village), Saurabh Singh (Chief) Functionary, Inner Voice Foundation Community Arsenic Mitigation and Research Organization (CAMRO),Sandeep Abasaheb Chavan (Project Lead, Tata Trusts, Gorakhpur, Homoeopathic Doctor, Public Health Professional), Dr. Hira Lal (Indian Administrative Servant and Consultant, Model Village) were some of the other speakers during the discussion.
Public Health and Education
Mr. Khalid Chaudhry (Regional Manager, (Uttar Pradesh), Action Aid India) while adjusting his views especially in the context of marginalized community and migrant workers said that the second wave of Covid has shown issues like health crisis and invisible emergency towards them.
This wave proved to be heart-wrenching for the rural areas of the state in many ways – increase in cases during Panchayat elections, non-appropriate behavior of Covid and underestimation of its consequences by rural people not taking the problem of Covid seriously etc.
In this sequence, till now 60-70% cases have been seen in Purvanchal and Bundelkhand regions of the state, lack of proper testing system, non-availability of oxygen etc. has increased the death toll, which from the state government’s figures and records don’t match at all.
Further, he said that the state government, social, medical and other institutions etc. will have to make joint efforts to solve this problem.
At the same time, he talked about making public investment on certain items by the state government and said that in this context, there is a need to spend more on health infrastructure, rural infrastructure and allocation of resources, here he expressed the commitment of the state government of Uttarakhand has also been exposed.
Apart from this, there is an urgent need for the state government to coordinate with socio-religious organizations for awareness of developmental issues like public health and education etc.
The economic condition of the underprivileged sections of the state of Uttar Pradesh, especially the mushahras, weavers, migrant workers, etc., is worrying. At the same time, it is not entirely appropriate to do away with your duty by announcing only 5 kg of food grains by the state government.
In this critical time, the government needs to make a realistic assessment of the condition of the migrant laborers in order to ensure food security, they should be provided with the “benefits of MGNREGA” as an alternative means of employment and gas-fuel etc. under the government scheme. is it or not?
At the same time, he pointed out the problems of children and suggested that their mental health needs attention and said that in this environment of uncertainty, education of rural children has been badly affected, only 12-15% of the population is online. is able to get education, the rest 85% fall in the category of deprived class.
Therefore, to solve all these problems, it is imperative that the State Governments work in collaboration with the various stakeholders of the society – civil society, journalists, academic sections etc. without any discrimination for the benefit of all the communities. Also, take a lesson from past mistakes and move forward playing a responsible role.