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.
Dr. Sharad Kumari (State Program Manager, Action Aid Association, Bihar and Jharkhand) concluded the last phase of this discussion in a very meaningful way, presenting a very dark side of the rural realities affected by the second wave of COVID 19 in both the states shared many aspects. This wave has undoubtedly again created a situation of confusion in front of the working class. Cases of falsification regarding food security and ration cards have come to the fore.
This wave exposed the medical system of both the states, as a result of which the hospitals in the capital were overloaded. At the same time, even in the circumstances of this crisis, some inhuman cases were seen like hoarding and black marketing of common and COVID related medicines etc. on a large scale.
In the context of rural households, problems of many forms have been seen, such as the unexpected cases of the second wave of COVID have exposed the failure of home-isolation before the joint families.
Also, there is a lack of arrangements regarding COVID in primary health centers so far, due to which they have to turn to urban medical centers and there they are being cheated in the name of treatment. In this way, economic and mental exploitation of the villagers is also being done in every way. At the same time, some oppressed sections of the society have also done whatever possible work has been done by putting pressure on the Dalit community to remove them from vaccination, in such a situation it is difficult to say about the behavior of COVID that it is true. How successful will it be at the social level?
In her statement, while talking on other social, family, economic and mental aspects, she also gave many suggestions, such as the mental and disorientation condition of the children has posed a challenge to the parents. Keeping in mind the possibility of a third wave ahead, she said that from now on, it is necessary for us to make a strategy and work on proper behavior style related to Covid.
Apart from this, there is an urgent need to take policy decisions under a long strategy towards providing economic stability to both the states of Bihar and Jharkhand, such as the government itself should ensure that on the basis of local resources, how they can do business. Develop so that the basis of a dignified life can be created by protecting the rights of the citizens of the major states.
Further, she also raised the issue of training rural non-professional medical personnel and taking advantage of them. Also, while making an analytical revelation about the dead bodies found in the river Ganges recently, he described aspects of “social customs, poverty and lack of awareness etc”. Similarly, in this period of COVID, women performing social duties associated with cremation also suffered the brunt of the selfish nature of patriarchy. In the end, she concluded her talk by mentioning the contribution being made by her organization.