In continuation with the ongoing discussions on the Rural Realities around the country, the Centre for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies (CHURS), IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi organized a Panel Discussion on “Rural Realities | Telangana & Andhra Pradesh | Practitioners’ Experiences in Tackling the Second Wave in Indian Villages” on May 14, 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.
Dr. Sridevi, Professor, Economics, Central University of Hyderabad moderating the session indicated a major issue of lack of testing or hiding positive cases in Telangana as compared to Andhra Pradesh which conducted large-scale testing accompanied with more reliable data in terms of positive cases. Both the states failed in improving Health infrastructure and health care facilities in terms of primary health care centers and availability of manpower and medicines.
Despite the pandemic, the expenditure of the government in health care was merely 3.3% in Telangana and 5 % in Andhra Pradesh.
Major issues in Related with Second wave catastrophic rise:
- Lenient lockdown rules.
- Failure of implementation of vaccination policy at both center and state level.
- Failure of government in creating awareness among rural people towards vaccination drive.
- Existence of preferential treatments at various levels i.e. village, Mandal or state.
- Exclusion of Vulnerable groups and rural areas due to online registration for vaccination.
- Non-Availability of oxygen, medicines, vaccines leading to a financial burden in rural and urban households.
- Failure in creating a proper health care system in rural areas.
- Discriminatory state support policies
Malnutrition as a Threat Multiplier
Dr. Sridevi also highlighted that the level of malnutrition in India is very high as per NFHS report 14 states in India suffer from High levels of malnutrition where levels have gone alarming up for below 5 years of age children and 60% of women in their reproductive age suffer from moderate or acute anemia. These malnutrition indices have a great impact on immunity levels and cognitive skills leading to the death rate.