To discuss the ways to tackle the spread of the second wave in rural areas needs structural change, 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 | Karnataka Practitioners’ Experiences in Tackling the Second Wave” on May 21, 2021.
The esteemed panelists were Dr. Basavaraju R Shreshta, Executive Director, Grassroots Research And Advocacy Movement (GRAAM), Mysore; Dr. Priya Shanmugam, Faculty, Department of Economics, Mount Carmel College Autonomous, Bengaluru; Mr. Leo Saldanha, Founding Trustee and Coordinator, Environment Support Group, Bengaluru; Mr. Nitesh Kumar Jangir, Co-Founder, Coeo Labs Pvt. Ltd. (An InnAccel Division), Bengaluru.
Panels include Dr. Purnima Madhivanan, Associate Professor, Public Health, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College, The University of Arizona; Dr. Nazrul Haque, Assistant Professor, Azim Premji University, Bengaluru; Dr. M R Seetharam, Consultant Orthopedic surgeon, Vivekananda Memorial Hospital; Core Member, SVYM and Dr. Jyotsna Jha, Director, Centre for Budget and Policy Studies (CBPS), Bengaluru as the discussant.
Leo Saldanha pointed that suicide is an indicator of public health. The quality of governance needs our attention. Corporate sector taking over major sectors like food and health is an issue of concern. Panchayati raj system’s role is of vital importance. No attention to primary health centers in rural areas needs our attention. It is a systemic collapse which has happened over the time.
A culture of specialized services being concentrated in urban areas has led to systemic subversion of public health outreach in rural areas. Ex- in Thailand, there is compulsory two-year service rendered by doctors in rural areas to promote the doctors to serve in rural areas, similar models can also be adopted by India. Lockdown is leading to malnourishment in rural areas as some people have hand to mouth situation. Investment in health sector is the need of the hour. Migration is due to lack of opportunities in rural areas. There is a distress cycle.
Investment in infrastructure is an indicator of political class building a legacy. Wasteful investments have to be stopped and there has to be a public outcry. Civil society organizations have to come together to bring about structural change and for the betterment of India.