While the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the world alike, its impact on people from disparate socio-economic standings, migrant workers for eg, has been unequal. Keeping in line with this and in continuation of the rural realities webinar series, the Center for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies (CHURS), IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, organized a panel discussion on “Rural Realities Practitioners’ Experience in Tackling the Second Wave in Indian Villages” on June 1st, 2021.
Mr. Tikender Singh Panwar, Former Deputy Mayor, Shimla; Visiting Senior Fellow, IMPRI laid the groundwork for the session by discussing the public health challenges and role of the government in India, and policy actions in Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.
The IMPRI team gave a brief presentation in order to provide an overview of the union territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh. They informed the participants about the state’s geographical and socio-economic status and gave insight into the situation of COVID-19 in India and the union territories, highlighting pertinent emerging issues.
Coordination and Cooperation
Dr Sajad Padder, Assistant Professor, Government Degree College mentioned that more than 70% population of Jammu and Kashmir resides in rural areas. The second wave has been much more lethal in terms of the number of cases and deaths, as compared to the first one.
Politicians have huge cadre based connections which can be effective in combating the pandemic. To substantiate this argument, he added that testing is available in rural areas and post testing positive, a team of medical staff assist the patient. In terms of vaccination, it is available, although there has been hesitancy on part of the people. In response, ASHA workers and student volunteers have worked at creating awareness and encouraging people to get vaccinated.
The supply of food has not been disrupted. Migrant workers, mostly from Bihar, have not returned, moderately affecting the agricultural activities.
- The government policy action has to be consistent with development of health and economic sectors.
- Investment in public health infrastructure is a major aspect in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Delayed testing has to be avoided by creating awareness and cooperation among residents.
- Relief packages for Below Poverty Line people will support the people.
- By monitoring entry points into the union territories, the number of new cases can be controlled.
- Telecommunication facilities have to be set up in rural areas to support online education.