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 and International Institute of Migration and Development (IIMAD), Kerala organized a Panel Discussion on “Rural Realities |Kerala | Practitioners’ Experiences in Tackling the Second Wave in Indian Villages” on May 20, 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.
The IMPRI team informed the discussion by locating for the event participants the situation of COVID 19 in India and Kerala. The team also provided an insight into the geography and Socio economic conditions of the state. The rationale was to provide the participants with an overview of the state of Kerala.
Prof Vinoj Abraham, Professor, Centre for Development Studies, Kerala Shared his observations and said that Kerala was one of the states that ideally could have seen much more number of cases, deaths and COVID related problems due to percentage of more urban society. There exist hardly any difference in rural and urban scenario and facilities in Kerala during the pandemic. Kerala has one of the lowest death rates in India whether it be rural or urban. Secondly talking about health care facilities he said that it’s the decentralized governance that has form a pillar for improved health care facilities in the state.
Throwing light on the livelihood aspect Prof Vinoj said that largest number of affected will be international migrants who have either come back or lost their jobs in gulf countries. Since around 25% of state GDP consist of remittance there would be huge impact on states economy. Since Kerala being a consumer society when remittance falls it affects the entire state.
He further highlighted that Kerala is depended a lot on tourism sector as Kerala’s most important revenue sources comes from the tourism sector. As tourism is completely washed away in the state and there are less possibilities of it in the near future. He states that though Kerala has been able to manage the pandemic very well, there exists a huge livelihood issues in the state.
Responding to a question on stabilizing financial situation of the state Prof Vinoj stated that we need to look at the financial condition of the state as Kerala is already in very big financial trouble and the government of Kerala should look into providing income support to the poor people and some amount of monthly transfers should be given to at least people who are directly affected.