To discuss the ways to tackle the spread of the second wave 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 | 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.
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.
Livelihood Security and Vaccination is the Need
Dr. Priya Shanmugam pointed to the nexus between lives and livelihood security. Government alone can’t do it, we need to cooperate to tackle the pandemic. The role of NGOs and volunteers is of utmost importance during these hard times. Bengaluru as IT hub has used technology efficiently. Task forces have been constituted. Sought help with Infosys to revamp BBMP bed allocation software to ensure transparency.
A big rural concern is helplessness of ASHAs as they lack proper protective gears. Urban centric COVID response has added to the agony. Decentralized decision making and mental health is deteriorating more.
Humane approach required in adhering to the norms. Gender gaps would widen post pandemic; therefore, we need to strengthen our institutional framework and policy mechanisms. Also, there should be special window borrowing programs for states to strengthen health care and fund vaccination programs. Crime rates would increase because of livelihood concerns.