In continuation with the ongoing discussions on the Rural Realities and COVID-19 around the country, the Centre for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies (CHURS), IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi and Orissa Economics Association, Odisha organized a Panel Discussion on “Rural Realities | Odisha Practitioners’ Experiences in Tackling the Second Wave in Indian Villages” on May 15, 2021, as the second wave of coronavirus pandemic is engulfing the length and breadth of our country, India, and hitting the heartland of our country which is the rural areas.
Micro evidence with Macro picture
Dr Pankaj Naik, Assistant Professor and Head, PG Department of Economics, Vikram Dev College, Odisha
Odisha is a very popular state when it comes to policy understanding, overwhelming rural population, which is 85% of the total population of Odisha, and otherwise. Even the lockdown was implemented first by the state of Odisha. Though the government said that there are 4198 COVID-19 hospitals in the state but these are disturbed in a skewed manner as in Western Odisha there are fewer beds as compared to the population over there.
And, even if there are beds then the oxygen support is not there in these remote areas. Though Odisha has done well in terms of poverty eradication, the number is still very grim for the marginalized groups as 63% of the tribal population are still poor. Moreover, the per capita doctor population has gone down drastically in the last decade and two whereas the in-patient ratio has gone up. Most importantly, the western area which inhabits the majority of SCs, STs population and is the biggest poverty spot of the state lacks all necessary health infrastructure.