In continuation with the ongoing discussions on the Rural Realities during the pandemic 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 | North East Practitioners’ Experiences in Tackling the Second Wave in Indian Villages” on May 16, 2021.
The IMPRI team informed the discussion by locating for the event participants the situation of COVID 19 in India and North East. The team also provided an insight into the geography and Socio economic conditions of the region. The rationale was to provide the participants with an overview of the North Eastern region.
In the introductory remarks, Dr Simi Mehta, CEO & Editorial Director of IMPRI, spoke on the necessity to discuss the way rural practitioners and population were coping with the pandemic. Moreover, there was a need to focus on the way forward in tackling the pandemic.
Government Response in Tackling Second Wave
Moderator Prof Utpal De, Professor and Former Head, Department of Economics, North Eastern Hill University (NEHU), Shillong, Meghalaya began the session by tracing the journey of India in the first wave, and the trajectory it assumed in the second one. He remarked that the approach of the government in the second wave differed from the previous one. He highlighted certain issues with the government response such as uneven imposition of lockdowns across the states and their impact in hampering market channels of agriculture and the industrial sector.
Following Prof Utpal De’s opening remarks, a brief presentation was made on the North East states reflecting their socio-economic characteristics. The presentation reflected that Tripura is the second most-affected state in the North East after Assam. Administrative efforts specific to North East were highlighted in the presentation such as: Corona Protibodhi Dol– community participation at grassroots level to increase awareness, Antiflip– an app that easily connected grocers with consumers in Assam’s Lakhimpur.
Concluding Remarks and Q & A
On an open-ended question regarding the need to create a framework on ensuring mental well-being, Prof Utpal De spoke on the fear-psychosis out of his own personal experience. Further, the uncertainty regarding lockdowns, work from home were taking a toll across the entire society.